The Calgary Hitmen (17-16-2-1) play game two of a five-game BC Division road trip tonight in Kamloops against the Canadian Hockey League's number seven ranked Blazers (25-9-1-2). Internet Broadcast on http://www.sportsnet960.com/ starts at 8pm MST. The Hitmen opened the swing Wednesday with a 3-1 loss in Prince George. The Cougars got a 37 save performance from Drew Owsley and scored once in each period en-route to victory. Kamloops also last played Wednesday night skating to a 3-1 home ice win over Vancouver. The Blazers scored once in each period and out shot the Giants 34-19.
Calgary enters tonight tied with Red Deer for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth after the Rebels win over Kootenay last night. Both teams with 37 points sit four points back of the Saskatoon Blades for seventh. The Hitmen have a game in hand on both clubs. Kamloops meanwhile leads the BC Division with 53 points. They are number two in the Western Conference, three points back of the front running Tri-City Americans.
Heading into tonight Calgary is winless in their last four (0-3-1-0), while Kamloops is without a regulation loss over their last five (3-0-0-2).
The Hitmen are winless in their last five road games (0-4-1-0) but 9-9-2-0 overall away from the 'Dome this season. The Blazers have won six straight at home posting an overall record of 13-5-0-0 at Interior Savings Centre.
VS. KAMLOOPS: Tonight is the first of two meetings with the Blazers. Last season they met three times with Calgary going 0-2-1-0 against Kamloops. Their lone meeting in Kamloops saw the Blazers post a 3-2 OT win on January 4th. Brendan Ranford netted the overtime winner as the Blazers out shot the Hitmen 33-19.
300 CLUB LOOMING: Former Kamloops Blazer Jimmy Bubnick will play his 300th career regular season game tonight. Through the first 299 WHL contests, Bubnick has collected 194 points (86g 108a). Bubnick played his first game on December 29, 2006 when he suited up for the Kamloops Blazers against the Moose Jaw Warriors. He picked up an assist in the 5-4 overtime win.
Cody Sylvester 14g 24a 38pts
Victor Rask 16g 13a 29pts
Jimmy Bubnick 13g 16a 29pts
Brendan Ranford 19g 25a 45pts
Colin Smith 19g 22a 41pts
JC Lipon 13g 24a 37pts
DO YOU REMEMBER? Former Hitmen Austin Madaisky and Chase Schaber were traded to Kamloops in a January 2010 trade deadline deal that saw the Hitmen acquire Jimmy Bubnick, Tyler Shattock and Zak Stebner. A pair of conditional draft picks also changed hands. Madaisky is the Blazers top scoring defenceman this season with 28 points, while Schaber is fifth in team scoring with 30 points.
STREAKS: Victor Rask (1g, 4a) is on a four-game point streak. Cody Sylvester (1g 1a) has points in back-to-back games. Trevor Cheek (3g 3a) had his four game point streak snapped Wednesday in Prince George.
WORLD JUNIORS: Rookie Victor Rask is playing for Team Sweden at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Calgary and Edmonton. This is the 13th straight year a Hitmen player has been part of this prestigious tournament. Sweden is 2-0 and will play Slovakia today. Rask has an assist thus far.
TEAM PACIFIC: Greg Chase, the only 16-year-old rookie on the team this season, is on Team Pacific at 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ontario. Team Pacific opened with a 5-2 win over Team West yesterday but Chase was held off the score sheet. Team Pacific plays the Czech Republic today. Two current Calgary Hitmen, Chase Clayton and Rob Trzonkowski, represented Team Pacific at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Winnipeg, Manitoba one year ago.