Friday, 29 March 2013

Hitmen advance to Eastern Conference Semi-Final

The Calgary Hitmen had a chance to end their opening round playoff series with the Swift Current Broncos Thursday night at Scotiabank Saddledome and did exactly that posting a 3-1 victory to capture the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarter-Final in five games.

The Broncos opened the scoring for the first time in the series when Calgary Flames prospect Coda Gordon struck on a powerplay just past the 11 minute mark of the opening period.  For Gordon it was his second goal and fourth point of the playoffs.

However the Hitmen pulled even less than four minutes later when rookie forward Jake Virtanen scored his first career WHL playoff goal.  It was the first by a Hitmen 16-year-old rookie in the post season since Peter Kosterman scored on May 7th, 2010, the night Calgary captured their second Ed Chynoweth Cup in a series clinching win over the Tri-City Americans.

In the second period, Victor Rask scored the eventual game winner just over 12 minutes in, picking up his team leading seventh point of the post season.  Elliott Peterson then added an insurance goal scoring late in the frame.  After serving a penalty Peterson stepped out of the box and was sprung on a break away by captain Cody Sylvester.

The Broncos surged in the final frame looking to mount a comeback out shooting Calgary 13-8 but Ottawa Senators prospect Chris Driedger shut the door leading the Hitmen to victory.  Driedger finished the series with sparkling numbers; a 1.91 goals against average and a .942 save percentage stopping 163 of 173 shots.

Calgary will now open the second round of the post season against a yet to be determined opponent (Red Deer or Kootenay) with back to back games at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 4th and 5th.  Game time both nights is 7:00 p.m. with tickets on sale now.

Swift Current Broncos 1 at Calgary Hitmen 3
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB

Swift Current 1 0 0 - 1
Calgary 1 2 0 - 3

1st Period
1, Swift Current, Gordon 2 (Nedomlel, Black), 11:24 (PP).
2, Calgary, Virtanen 1 (Rask, Rissling), 15:04.
Penalties-Cave S.c (tripping), 3:00; Merkley S.c (tripping), 5:33; Virtanen Cal (high sticking), 10:57; Rissling Cal (hooking), 17:43.

2nd Period
3, Calgary, Rask 3 (Chase, Kosterman), 12:07.
4, Calgary, Peterson 1 (Sylvester), 17:48.
Penalties-Brooks Cal (charging), 2:04; Virtanen Cal (boarding), 4:13; Peterson Cal (delay of game), 12:41; Bews S.c (hooking), 12:52.

3rd Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Kosterman Cal (delay of game), 7:17; Black S.c (cross checking), 17:24; Humphries Cal (cross checking), 17:24; Brassart Cal (slashing, 10-minute misconduct), 20:00.

Shots on Goal-Swift Current 11-11-13-35. Calgary 8-10-8-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Swift Current 1 / 6; Calgary 0 / 3.
Goalies-Swift Current, Laurikainen 1-2-2-0 (26 shots-23 saves). Calgary, Driedger 4-0-1-0 (35 shots-34 saves).
Referees-Brett Montsion (54), Steve Papp (17).
Linesmen-Reid Anderson (53), Scott Sharun (103).

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