HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (34-16-1-3) play game six of a season high nine-game road trip tonight in Everett against the Silvertips (21-29-1-4). Radio Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan starts at 8:00 p.m. MDT with a 30 minute pre-game show. The Hitmen improved to 2-3 on the trip Wednesday night with a 4-3 come from behind win over the CHL’s number one ranked Portland Winterhawks. Cody Sylvester scored twice including the game winner with 1:32 remaining. Sylvester finished the night with three points (2g 1a) as the Hitmen erased a 3-1 third period deficit to snap a three game losing streak. Alex Roach and Brooks Macek also scored for the Hitmen while Greg Chase tied a career high with three assists. Chris Driedger made 42 saves in a first star performance as Portland outshot Calgary 45-30. Shaun MacPherson, Ty Rattie and Brendan Leipsic scored for the Winterhawks who saw their six game winning streak come to an end. Both teams were 1-5 on the powerplay. Calgary is third in the Eastern Conference, 13 points back of the front running Edmonton Oil Kings but with two games in hand.
VS. EVERETT: Tonight is the first and only regular season meeting. Last season Calgary produced a 3-1 win at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 29h, 2011. Trevor Cheek scored the game winning goal shorthanded in the second period to break a 1-1 tie. Cody Sylvester and Jimmy Bubnick also scored for Calgary who outshot the Silvertips 42-16. Jari Erricson had the lone goal for Everett. The last time the Hitmen paid a visit to Everett was on October 15th, 2010. Tyler Maxwell scored twice and set up another in a 4-2 Silvertips win. Justin Kirch and Cody Beach scored for Calgary who saw a 2-1 third period lead slip away. Over the last five seasons Calgary is 3-1 against the Silvertips including a 2-0 record in Everett.
TIMELY GOAL: When Alex Roach scored on a second period powerplay in Portland on Wednesday it ending a Hitmen scoring drought at 164 minutes and 24 seconds. Calgary had been blanked in both of their previous two games. Since the birth of the franchise in the 1995/96 season, the Hitmen have never been shutout in three straight games.
200 POINTS: Cody Sylvester hit the 200 career regular season points mark Wednesday night in Portland with his game winning goal over the Winterhawks. Now in his fifth season with Calgary, Cody Sylvester is moving up the lists of all-time scorers in club history. Sylvester has played 298 games and has totaled 84 goals, 116 assists for 200 points. The Vernon, British Columbia product is now sixth all-time in games played, 11th in goals and 10th in both assists and points.
DID YOU KNOW? The Hitmen have given up the first goal in three straight games and in four their last five contests....Including tonight Calgary’s next five games are against teams from the Western Conference. The Hitmen will then close out the regular season with 13 straight against Eastern Conference rivals….Alex Roach is the top scoring defenceman in the Eastern Conference with 40 points. His plus 35 is also number one in the Eastern Conference….Hitmen forward Pavlo Padakin is tied for fifth in goals by a rookie in the WHL with 15….Nine different Hitmen have scored 10 or more goals this season….Calgary had outshot their opponent in eight straight games until they were outshot Wednesday in Portland …The Hitmen have been shutout five times this season and have blanked their opposition three times…. Cody Sylvester (61pts) and Brooks Macek (59pts) are in a battle for the team lead in scoring. This is the 18th season of Hitmen hockey and only on three previous occasions has there been a tie for top scorer at the end of the season. In the 2007-08 campaign both Ryan White and Kyle Bortis finished with 72 points. In the 2005-06 season Ryan White and Brodie Dupont finished with 53 points each while in the 2003-04 season Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd both had 75 points….NHL Central Scouting has released their mid-term rankings for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft with two members of the Calgary Hitmen cracking the list. Forward Greg Chase, in his second season, is ranked 94th among North American Skaters. Rookie Mack Shields is ranked 28th among North American goalies.
HOME AND AWAY: Calgary is 18-8-0-1 on the road while Everett is 11-12-0-4 at home.
TURNING ON THE RED LIGHT: Five Hitmen are having career years in the goal scoring department. Brooks Macek has set a career-high in goals at 25, three more than his previous high of 21 set in 2009-10 with Tri-City. Cody Sylvester has 28 goals in 51 games this season, three more than his previous best of 23 set last year. Alex Roach has 14 goals, topping his previous best of four set in each of the last two seasons. Greg Chase has 14 goals eight more than the six he scored in his rookie campaign last season. Zane Jones has scored 18 times this season topping the 14 he scored last season in Victoria.
ALUMNUS PRO WATCH: Brandon Kozun of the Manchester Monarchs is currently the top scoring Hitmen grad in the AHL. His 29 points (11g 18a) in 44 games have him tied for 53rd in the scoring race. Kozun, a Los Angeles Kings prospect, played parts of four seasons with the Hitmen from 2006/07 to 2009/10 racking up 312 points.
MILESTONE WATCH: By setting up three more goals, Brady Brassart will reach 100 career assists. Cody Sylvester is two games shy of 300. Chris Driedger is 79 saves shy of 2,500.
NHL PROSPECTS: Chris Driedger (Ottawa 2012); Kenton Helgesen (Anaheim 2012); Jaynen Rissling (Washington 2012); Alex Roach (Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Los Angeles 2011); Victor Rask (Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Carolina 2011).
UPCOMING GAMES: Calgary continues their five game tour of the U-S Division tomorrow in Kent against former teammate Brandon Glover and the Seattle Thunderbirds before heading to Tri-City on Tuesday and Spokane Wednesday. Next Hitmen home game is not until Saturday, February 16th when they host the Victoria Royals.