HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (41-20-1-4) wrap up a three game road trip tonight in Prince Albert against the Raiders (35-25-2-4). Internet Broadcast on www.sportsnet.ca/960 starts at 6pm MST. So Calgary is 1-1 on the swing. After opening with a 5-2 loss in Medicine Hat on Sunday the Hitmen bounced back with a 9-5 win in Saskatoon last night, beating the Blades for the first time in four tries this season. Calgary is third in the WHL’s Eastern Conference with 87 points. Their magic number to clinch home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs is one. A Hitmen win or Prince Albert loss will ensure the Hitmen open the post season at Scotiabank Saddledome.
VS. PRINCE ALBERT: Tonight is the fourth and final meeting between the two clubs. Calgary is 1-1-0-1 against the Raiders. Colten Mayor (4g2a) leads the Hitmen with six points against the Raiders. Five of those (3g2a) came as a member of the Regina Pats. Dylan Busenius tops PA with five points (1g4a) against Calgary. Three of those (3a) came as a member of the Medicine Hat Tigers. Over the last five seasons, Calgary is 11-5-2-1 against Prince Albert, including a 4-3-2-0 record at the Art Hauser Centre.
Oct. 5/12 at CAL: Raiders 5 Hitmen 4 (SO) Greg Chase forced sudden death for Calgary scoring with 60 seconds remaining.
Feb. 2/13 at PA: Raiders 2 Hitmen 0 Luke Siemens made 40 saves for his 11th career shutout.
Feb. 22/13 at CAL: Hitmen 6 Raiders 5 (Shootout) Brooks Macek had a goal, an assist and the shootout winner.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 100 PA 96 Power Plays: CAL 0-11 (0%) PA 3-19 (15.8%)
RECORD NIGHT: Cody Sylvester set a franchise record with seven points in a single game last night in Saskatoon. It topped the previous mark of six set on four occasions. Brad Moran had six points twice in 1998; Pavel Brendl hit the six point mark in 1999 while Kris Beech did it in 2000. In addition both Sylvester and Jaynen Rissling were plus six last night setting personal single game career highs for both players. Rissling’s three points matched his career best set on January 21st of 2011 in Prince Albert when he also had a goal and two assists. Brady Brassart had four points in the victory (2g2a) tying a career high achieved on two previous occasions earlier this season. Greg Chase also tied a personal best with three points (2g1a) for the fourth time in his career.
ASSISTANT GM: The Hitmen have promoted Director of Business Operations Mike Moore to Assistant General Manager. While keeping his business role, Moore will now help General Manager Kelly Kisio on the hockey operations side. Moore is in his 16th season in the WHL and fifth season with the Calgary Hitmen. Prior to joining the Hitmen, he was the Director of Athletics at Edge School in Calgary. Moore spent seven years as a General Manager in the WHL with both the Kamloops Blazers and Medicine Hat Tigers, and was the Hitmen Assistant General Manager in 1997-98
SCORING PUNCH: Calgary’s nine goals last night in Saskatoon was their highest offensive output on the road this season. It came on 38 shots. During Calgary’s previous four games they had scored only six goals on 154 shots. The Hitmen season high for goals in a game is 10 set on home ice January 2nd in a 10-2 victory over Brandon.
POWER OUTAGE: Over their last five games the Hitmen powerplay has gone a combined 1-25.
STREAKIN’: Brady Brassart (3g3a), Alex Roach (1g1a), Pavlo Padakin (1g1a) and Calder Brooks (2a) all have points in back-to-back games.
CLIMBING THE RANKS: Cody Sylvester is in his fifth and final season in Calgary and he’s making his mark on the Hitmen record book. Sylvester has played 310 regular season games with the club collecting 90 goals and 128 assists for 218 points. The captain is now sixth all-time in games played, 10th in goals, ninth in assists and eighth in points. He’s just one goal shy of moving into a tie for eighth in goals with Kris Beech and Ryan White at 91.
CAREER MILESTONE WATCH: Swedish import Victor Rask needs five points to reach 100 and is four games away from 100. Brady Brassart eclipsed the 100 assist mark last night in Saskatoon and is now at 102. He is 3 games shy of 250. Assistant captain Brooks Macek hit the 250 point mark last night in Saskatoon. His assist also set a career high for most points in a season with 74, surpassing his previous high of 73 set in the 2009-10 season.
WHL LEADERBOARD: Brady Brassart leads the league in game-winning goals at nine, followed by Justin Feser and Malte Stromwall of the Tri-City who both have eight game-winning tallies. The single season franchise record for most game-winning goals is held by Pavel Brendl, who scored 14 in 1999-00.
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 is back in Scotiabank Saddledome this weekend for a pair of games hosting Lethbridge Saturday at 7pm and Red Deer on Sunday at 4pm. The Hitmen will play four of their five remaining games on home ice with only a trip to Cranbrook in a regular season ending home-and-home series with the Kootenay Ice.