Thursday, 22 March 2012

Game 1: Brandon at Calgary

The chase for the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL Champions begins tonight when the Calgary Hitmen (44-25-2-1) host the Brandon Wheat Kings (39-28-1-4) in Game 1 of their Best-of-Seven Eastern Conference Quarter-Final Series.  Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Saddledome.

This series features two of the hottest clubs to end the regular season.  Calgary went 27-9 in their last 36 games while Brandon rattled off a run of 15-4-0-2 in their last 21.

                                                 Photo Credit:  Brad Watson

HEAD-TO-HEAD:  Calgary and Brandon met four times in the regular season with the Hitmen posting a 3-1 record.  Victor Rask led all Hitmen with six points (2g 4a) against Brandon while Alessio Bertaggia (4g 2a) topped the Wheat Kings with six points against Calgary.
-Nov. 4 in Brandon:  Wheat Kings 5 Hitmen 2.   The Brandon line of Brendan Walker (2g 2a), Mark Stone (1g 2a) and Michael Ferlund (2g 3a) combined for 11 points.
-Nov. 22 in Brandon:  Hitmen 6 Wheat Kings 3.  Alex Gogolev scored twice for Calgary while Cody Sylvester had three points (1g 2a)
-Dec. 11 in Calgary:  Hitmen 4 Wheat Kings 3.  Trevor Cheek scored twice for Calgary.
-Jan. 25 in Calgary: Hitmen 7 Wheat Kings 2.  Brooks Macek had four points (3g 1a) to lead the Hitmen.
                                                             INSIDE THE SERIES
SHOTS ON GOAL: Cal 148  Bdn 103  POWERPLAYS: Cal 2-14 (14.3%)  Bdn 3-18 (16.7%)

DID YOU KNOW?  Brandon had three of the top 25 scorers in the WHL in Mark Stone (2nd with 123pts), Michael Ferland (9th with 96pts), Brendan Walker (Tied for 19th with 81pts) and Kevin Sundher (Tied for 25th with 75pts).  Calgary's top point producer, Jimmy Bubnick, tied for 23rd with 77 points.

HOME AND AWAY:  Calgary went 22-13-0-1 on home ice this season while Brandon was 20-16-0-0 on the road.

PLAYOFF HISTORY:  This is the sixth career playoff meeting between the Hitmen and Wheat Kings.  It's also the fifth time in eight years these two teams will square off.  After Brandon won the first two, Calgary has captured the last three series.  Including their 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup meetings, here is a look back at their post season encounters.

2010 Memorial Cup Lost in Semi-Final    
Date/Opponent/Hitmen Result/Series
05/19/10 Brandon 5-1 W Round Robin
05/21/10 Brandon 5-4 OTL Semi-Final

2010 WHL Eastern Conference Final
04/16/10 vs. Bdn 4-2 L Bdn leads 1-0
04/17/10 vs. Bdn 3-2 OTW Series tied 1-1
04/20/10 at Bdn 6-3 W Cgy leads 2-1
04/21/10 at Bdn 4-3 W Cgy leads 3-1
04/23/10 vs. Bdn 6-1 W Cgy wins 4-1

2009 WHL Eastern Conference Final
04/17/09 vs. Bran 9-3 W Cgy leads 1-0
04/19/09 vs. Bran 5-4 W Cgy leads 2-0
04/21/09 at Bran 4-3 W Cgy leads 3-0
04/22/09 at Bran 6-4 W Cgy wins 4-0

2007 WHL Eastern Conference Semi-Final
04/06/07 at Bran 4-3 OTL Bran leads 1-0
04/07/07 at Bran 3-2 L Bran leads 2-0
04/10/07 vs. Bran 8-1 W Bran leads 2-1
04/11/07 vs. Bran 5-1 W Series tied 2-2
04/13/07 at Bran 5-4 OTW Cgy leads 3-2
04/15/07 vs. Bran 4-1 W Cgy wins 4-2

2005 WHL Eastern Conference Semi-Final
4/8/2005 at Bran 10-1 W Cgy leads 1-0
4/9/2005 at Bran 5-1 L Series tied 1-1
4/12/2005 vs. Bran 3-1 W Cgy leads 2-1
4/13/2005 vs. Bran 4-2 W Cgy leads 3-1
04/15/05 at Bran 6-4 L Cgy leads 3-2
4/18/2005 vs. Bran 3-1 L Series tied 3-3
4/20/2005 at Bran 3-1 L Bran wins 4-3

1998 WHL Eastern Conference Final
04/11/98 vs. Brandon 5-4 OTL Bran leads 1-0
04/12/98 vs. Brandon 5-4 L Bran leads 2-0
04/14/98 at Brandon 3-2 OTW Bran leads 2-1
04/15/98 at Brandon 4-1 L Bran leads 3-1
04/17/98 vs. Brandon 4-1 L Bran wins 4-1

DID YOU KNOW:  This little nugget comes from the twitter account @WHLFacts.  7.4 - The average number of playoff games won per year by the Hitmen since the 1998 post season, their first ever trip to the WHL playoffs. (Overall record of 104-73, .587)

POST SEASON EXPERIENCE: Twelve Hitmen head into tonight having appeared in at least one post season game. 
Collin Bowman, who won a WHL Championship with Kelowna in 2009, leads the way with 47 games (1g 12a 13pts). 
Brock Sutherland is next with 39GP (1g 9a 10pts)
Cody Sylvester 35GP (11g 6a 17pts)
Brooks Macek 32GP (9g 11a 20pts)
Jimmy Bubnick 31GP (2g 13a 15pts)
Brady Brassart 16GP (1g 3a 4pts)
Jaynen Rissling 9GP (1g 2a 3pts)
Danny Gayle 7GP (0g 0a 0pts
Joey Kornelsen 6GP (1g 1a 2pts)
Peter Kosterman 5GP (1g 0a 1pt)
Brandon Glover 2GP (3.09GAA .900%)
Spencer Humphries 1GP (0g 0a 0pts)

For Brandon 17 players have at least one game of playoff experience.  Brodie Melnychuk leads the way with 39 games (4g 9a 13pts).  Mark Stone is next with 33GP (3g 15a 18pts) followed by Darian Dziurzynski with 24GP (6g 10a 16pts)

Calgary Hitmen:
F Victor Rask (Carolina, 2nd Round, 42nd overall in 2011 - SIGNED)
F Brooks Macek (Detroit, 6th round, 171st overall in 2010)
D Alex Roach (Los Angeles, SIGNED as a Free Agent in September, 2011)

Brandon Wheat Kings:
F Kevin Sundher (Buffalo, 3rd Round, 75th overall in 2010 – SIGNED)
F Michael Ferland (Calgary, 5th Round, 133rd overall in 2010 - SIGNED)
F Mark Stone (Ottawa, 6th Round, 178th overall in 2010 - SIGNED)
G Brandon Anderson (Washington, SIGNED as a Free Agent in September, 2010).

PRE-GAME EATS:  The Avison Young Club Dining Room at Scotiabank Saddledome will open two hours prior to all Hitmen Playoff games.  For Reservations, please call Brenda at 403-571-9733
* The Reservation Line is open Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Here is tonight's menu and pricing.
Buffet Opens at 5:00 p.m.
Slow Roasted Alberta AAA Beef Sirloin with a Merlot Demi Glaze
Pork Piccata with a Housemade Tomato Sauce
Blackened Salmon with a Fresh Fruit Salsa
Roasted Potato Wedges Tossed with Fresh Herbs
Chef’s Selection of Seasonal Vegetables
Tender Butter Lettuce and Baby Arugula
Greek Salad with a Fresh Oregano and Lemon Vinaigrette
Mediterranean Salad
Seasonal Fresh Fruit
Chef’s Selection of Desserts
$18.95 Adults
$10.95 (Children 11 and under)

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