Thursday, 4 April 2013

Game 1 Preview: Rebels at Hitmen

The Western Hockey League march to the Ed Chynoweth Cup continues tonight as the Calgary Hitmen host the Red Deer Rebels in Game 1 of a best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semi-Final Series.

Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Saddledome. Radio Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan begins at six o'clock with a 60 minute pre-game show.

REGULAR SEASON REFLECTION:  The Hitmen entered the post season as the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference having compiled a regular season record of 46-21-1-4, good for 97 points. The Rebels were the #4 seed posting a record of 39-26-5-2 en-route to an 85 point campaign.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:  Calgary beat the Swift Current Broncos in five games to win their opening round series with three of the games decided in overtime.  Red Deer swept the Prince Albert Raiders in four straight to capture their first round match.

ROLLING INTO ROUND 2:  Dating back to the regular season both clubs are playing well.  Calgary has won 10 of their last 12 games scoring a combined 56 goals for a per game average of 4.6. Red Deer is 9-2-0-1 in their last 12 games holding their opponent to two goals or less in eight of those wins.

Cody Sylvester 41g 49a 90pts
Brooks Macek 32g 48a 80pts
Brady Brassart 35g 43a 78pts
*Ten Hitmen finished with 14 goals or more

Red Deer
Rhyse Dieno 27g 32a 59pts
Turner Elson 26g 31a 57pts
Mathew Dumba 16g 26a 42pts
*Eight Rebels finished with 10 goals or more

There are a combined seven players in the series that have either been drafted or signed by NHL teams.  The Hitmen have five:
Chris Driedger -3rd round (76th overall) - Ottawa Senators - 2012 NHL Entry Draft
Kenton Helgesen -7th round (187th overall) - Anaheim Ducks - 2012 NHL Entry Draft
Jaynen Rissling - 7th round (197th overall) - Washington Capitals - 2012 NHL Entry Draft
Alex Roach (Signed a three-year, Entry-level Contract, Los Angeles Kings 2011);
Victor Rask (Drafted in the 3rd round and signed three-year entry-level contract, Carolina Hurriacnes 2011).

Red Deer
Mathew Dumba - 1st round (7th overall) - Minnesota Wild - 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Turner Elson - (Signed a three-year entry level contract, Calgary Flames 2011)

NHL DRAFT RADAR: Both teams had players ranked by NHL Central Scouting in the Mid-Term rankings as potential picks for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

#50 Kayle Doetzel - Red Deer Rebels
#94 Greg Chase - Calgary Hitmen
#129 Matt Bellerive - Red Deer Rebels

#10 Patrik Bartosak - Red Deer Rebels
#28 Mack Shields - Calgary Hitmen

PLAYOFF EXPERIENCE: Calgary has a combined 270 games of playoff experience. Cody Sylvester and Brooks Macek lead the way with 42 games each.  Red Deer has a combined 155 man games of playoff experience. 

HOME AND AWAY:  Dating back to the regular season, Calgary is 25-10-1-3 on home ice this season including an 14-2-0-1 mark since January 1st. The Broncos are 19-15-3-1 on the road having won four of their last six games in enemy rinks.

PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS: Calgary's Cody Sylvester and Alex Roach are Eastern Conference second team all-stars with Sylvester also the Eastern Conference nominee for WHL Humanitarian of the Year.  Red Deer's Patrik Bartosak is the Eastern Conference Nominee for Goaltender of the Year and is also an Eastern Conference First Team All-Star.

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