Saturday, 30 March 2013

Hitmen to face Red Deer in Eastern Conference Semi-Final

The Calgary Hitmen will play their closest geographical rival in the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.  The match-up against Red Deer was set after the Edmonton Oil Kings eliminated the Kootenay Ice Friday night.


The Hitmen have home ice advantage in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semi-Final after finishing the regular season as the number two seed with 97 points.  Their opponent in Red Deer was the number four seed after an 85 point regular season.

Calgary beat the Swift Current Broncos in five games in the opening round while Red Deer swept Prince Albert in four straight.

This will be their first post season meeting since 2004 when the Rebels beat the Hitmen in seven games.

Here is their complete second round schedule:

Husky WHL Eastern Conference Semi-Final CALGARY VS. RED DEER
(Series J)

Game 1 - Thurs Apr 4 7:00 PM Red Deer at Calgary
Game 2 - Fri Apr 5 7:30 PM Red Deer at Calgary
Game 3 - Monday, Apr 8 7:00 PM Calgary at Red Deer
Game 4 - Tuesday, Apr 9 7:00 PM Calgary at Red Deer
Game 5 - Thursday, Apr 11, 7:00 PM Red Deer at Calgary*
Game 6 - Saturday, Apr 13 6:00 PM Calgary at Red Deer*
Game 7 - Tuesday, Apr 16 7:00 PM Red Deer at Calgary *
  *if necessary

 REGULAR SEASON HEAD-TO-HEAD:  The Hitmen and Rebels met six times in the regular season with three meetings ending in either overtime or a shootout.  Calgary was 4-0-1-1 against Red Deer with five of their six meetings back in 2012.  Hitmen captain Cody Sylvester led Calgary in scoring against the Rebels with seven goals and two assists for nine points, while Brooks Macek (3g, 3a) and Alex Roach (6a) had six points each. 
                                                                SERIES RECAP
Sept. 21/12 at RD:  Hitmen 3 Rebels 2  C. Sylvester had a hand in all three Calgary goals scoring twice and setting up another.
Sept. 29/12 at CAL:  Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 OT Brady Brassart and Cody Sylvester each netted power play markers.
Oct. 13/12 at CAL:  Hitmen 4 Rebels 2  Cody Sylvester scored two goals including the game winner.
Oct. 27/12 at RD:  Rebels 4 Hitmen 3 SO B. Gaudet scored in the seventh round of the shootout lifting the Rebels to a 4-3 win.
Dec. 12/12 at RD: Hitmen 2 Rebels 1 B. Macek and V. Rask scored 26 seconds apart in the third period to secure the win.
March 10/13 at Cal: Hitmen 4 Rebels 3 OT calder brooks scored the game winner after the Rebels overcame a 3-1 second period deficit
                                                               INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 223 RD 164     Power Plays: CAL 9-24 (37.5%) RD 3-21 (14.3%)  

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).
A-7,340
Referees-Brett Montsion (54), Steve Papp (17).
Linesmen-Reid Anderson (53), Scott Sharun (103).

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hitmen take a 3-1 series lead with a disputed OT win

Victor Rask scored just 37 seconds into overtime to give the Calgary Hitmen a 1-0 win over the Swift Current Broncos Tuesday night in Saskacthewan and a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarter-Final series. 

Rask was able to corral a bouncing puck and fend off Graham Black to beat Eetu Laurikainen couldn't get to his left quick enough.

The scoring play was called a good goal at the time but the Broncos bench erupted in anger feeling the puck was knocked with a glove over to Rask.  The officials huddled as the Hitmen poured off the bench to celebrate but nothing was overturned.

From our broadcast booth, located at the Hitmen blueline a long ways away, it was impossible to see as so many players had crowded the blue paint.

You can watch the highlights here to make up your own mind: http://www.scbroncos.com/video/index/id/3928e7dd9f95c296fb4e4dcc132b73dc

Swift Current outshot the Hitmen 28-27 with Chris Driedger turning in a perfect performance in the Calgary net to record his first career WHL playoff shutout.

The series now shifts back to Calgary to Game 5 Thursday night at Scotiabank Saddledome with a 7:00 o'clock start.

Calgary Hitmen 1 at Swift Current Broncos 0 (OT)
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - Credit Union i-plex - Swift Current, SK

Calgary 0 0 0 1 - 1
Swift Current 0 0 0 0 - 0

1st Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Lund S.c (delay of game), 4:14; Clayton Cal (10-minute misconduct), 9:43; Mayor Cal (major-fighting), 9:43; Heatherington S.c (10-minute misconduct), 9:43; Mackay S.c (major-fighting), 9:43; Bews S.c (tripping), 15:32; Roach Cal (roughing), 17:19; Virtanen Cal (roughing), 17:19; Cave S.c (roughing), 17:19.

2nd Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Sylvester Cal (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 0:00; Scarlett S.c (roughing), 0:00; Zgraggen Cal (roughing), 6:58.

3rd Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-No Penalties

OT Period
1, Calgary, Rask 2 (Peterson, Macek), 0:37.
Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Calgary 12-8-6-1-27. Swift Current 9-13-6-0-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 0 / 2; Swift Current 0 / 2.
Goalies-Calgary, Driedger 3-0-1-0 (28 shots-28 saves). Swift Current, Laurikainen 1-1-2-0 (27 shots-26 saves).
A-2,622
Referees-Jeff Ingram (82), Brett Iverson (24).
Linesmen-Jason Roy (94), Ian Schafer (56).

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Game 4 Preview: Hitmen at Broncos

The Calgary Hitmen are in Swift Current tonight to face the Broncos in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarter Final.  The Hitmen lead in the best-of-seven series has been reduced to 2-1 after Swift Current produced an overtime win last night.  Game time tonight is 7:00 p.m. at the Credit Union iPlex.  The internet broadcast on sportsnet.ca/960 also begins at seven o'clock and can be heard by clicking here: http://player.rogersradio.ca/cfac-alt/on_air

                                                  Photo Credit: swbooster.com

SERIES TRENDS:  The home team has won all three games....Calgary has opened the scoring in all three games....The winning team has been outshot in two of the three games....Overtime has been needed to decide a winner in two of the three games....Both teams have dressed the identical line-up in all three games.

GOALS BY PERIOD IN THE SERIES:
Calgary
1st Period-3
2nd Period-4
3rd Period-3
Overtime-1
Total-11

Swift Current
1st Period-0
2nd Period-4
3rd Period-4
Overtime-1
Total-9

THE CAPTAIN FACTOR:  Cody Sylvester has been in on four of Calgary's last five goals in the series while Adam Lowry has been in on the last four Swift Current goals.  Both players lead their respective teams in scoring this series.  Sylvester has four points (3g 1a) while Lowry has five (3g 2a).

SPECIAL TEAMS:  Swift Current leads the special teams battle going a combined 4-13 on the powerplay (30.8%) while the Hitmen are 2-8 with the man advantage (25%).

STREAKIN; Dating back to the regular season Victor Rask (3g 11a) is on a nine game point streak.  Brooks Macek (5g 4a) is riding a six game point streak.  Cody Sylvester (3g 1a) has points in back-to-back games.  Greg Chase (1g 4a) had his three game point streak snapped last night in Game 3.

BATTLE OF THE CREASE:  Calgary's Chris Driedger is 2-1 with a 2.79GAA and a .918 save percentage.  Swift Current's Eetu Laurikainen is 1-2 with a 3.41GAA and a .896 save percentage.

TOP SCORERS
Calgary
Cody Sylvester 3g 1a 4pts
Victor Rask 1g 3a 4pts
Brady Brassart 3g 0a 3pts
Greg Chase 1g 2a 3pts
Brooks Macek 1g 2a 3pts
Jaynen Rissling 0g 3a 3pts

Swift Current
Adam Lowry 3g 2a 5pts
Colby Cave 2g 2a 4pts
Graham Black 1g 2a 3pts
Coda Gordon 1g 2a 3pts
Reece Scarlett 0g 3a 3pts

Swift Current takes Game 3 in OT

Colby Cave scored at 10:14 of overtime to lift the Swift Current Broncos to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Hitmen Monday night at Credit Union iPlex.

The victory was the Broncos first in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarter Final with Calgary now leading 2-1.

Cody Sylvester forced overtime for the Hitmen scoring the tying goal with 33.2 seconds remaining in the third period capitalising on a powerplay.  It was his second goal of the game and third of the series for the Hitmen captain.

"I thought our guys showed a lot of resolve in the third period finding a way to get it to overtime but in OT I thought we were guilty of mismanaging the puck," said Hitmen Head Coach Mike Williamson.

Cave finished the game with a pair of goals for Swift Current while Adam Lowry had the other Broncos marker.

Both goaltenders turned in a strong performan as Calgary outshot the Broncos 45-42.

Eetu Laurikainen made 43 saves in the Swift Current net while Chris Driedger had 39 stops in the Calgary goal.

Game 4 goes Tuesday night in Swift Current.

                                                  Photo Credit: swbooster.com

Calgary Hitmen 2 at Swift Current Broncos 3 (OT)
Monday, March 25, 2013 - Credit Union i-plex - Swift Current, SK

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

1st Period
1, Calgary, Sylvester 2   15:18.
Penalties-Brassart Cal (slashing), 0:28; Lowry S.c (slashing), 0:28; Brassart Cal (interference), 7:11; Gordon S.c (too many men), 18:50.

2nd Period
2, Swift Current, Lowry 3 (Merkley, Scarlett), 12:38 (PP).
Penalties-Brassart Cal (slashing), 8:31; Humphries Cal (tripping), 11:28; Padakin Cal (hooking), 11:56; Chase Cal (roughing), 15:29; Merkley S.c (roughing), 15:29.

3rd Period
3, Swift Current, Cave 1 (Scarlett, Lowry), 5:37.
4, Calgary, Sylvester 3 (Rask, Macek), 19:27 (PP).
Penalties-Scarlett S.c (high sticking), 1:42; Nedomlel S.c (roughing), 12:21; Scarlett S.c (delay of game), 18:33.

OT Period
5, Swift Current, Cave 2 (Lowry), 10:14.
Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Calgary 18-10-14-3-45. Swift Current 6-13-10-13-42.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 1 / 4; Swift Current 1 / 4.
Goalies-Calgary, Driedger 2-0-1-0 (42 shots-39 saves). Swift Current, Laurikainen 1-1-1-0 (45 shots-43 saves).
A-2,417
Referees-Adam Byblow (23), Chad Williams (60).
Linesmen-Sean Dufour (50), Ryan Lundquist (106).

Monday, 25 March 2013

Game 3 Preview: Hitmen at Broncos

After a two day break the scene has shifted from Alberta to Saskatchewan as the Calgary Hitmen visit the Swift Current Broncos tonight in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarter-Final.  The Hitmen lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 following back-to-back wins at Scotiabank Saddledome by scores of 6-5 in OT and 3-1.  Radio Broadcast tonight on Sportsnet 960 The Fan begins at 6 o'clock with a one hour pre-game show.  Guests include Hitmen head coach Mike Williamson along with defenceman Spencer Humphries.  From Swift Current joining us will be head coach Mark Lamb and defenceman Dillon Heatherington.

                                      Photo Credit: Brad Watson - Calgary Hitmen

SERIES TRENDS:  Not only has Calgary opened the scoring in both games but they have yet to trail at any point in the series....Counting overtime Swift Current has outshot the Hitmen in four of the seven periods....Calgary has outscored Swift Current by a combined 4-0 in first periods of the series.

SHOT CLOCK:  Even though Broncos trail the series, they've outshot Calgary by a combined 68-61.

SPREADING THE SCORING AROUND:  Fourteen different Hitmen have at least a single point in the series while eight different Broncos have hit the scoresheet.

SPECIAL TEAMS:  Swift Current leads the special teams battle going a combined 3-9 on the powerplay (33.3%) while the Hitmen are 1-4 with the man advantage (25%).

HOME AND AWAY:  During the regular season Calgary was 24-11-0-1 on the road while Swift Current went 20-12-2-2 at home.

STREAKIN; Dating back to the regular season Victor Rask (3g 10a) is on an eight game point streak.  Brooks Macek (5g 3a) is riding a five game point streak.  Greg Chase (1g 4a) has points in three straight while Jaynen Rissling (3a) has points in back-to-back games.  Chris Driedger is 8-0 in his last eight starts with a 2.85 goals against average.

TOP SCORERS
Calgary
Brady Brassart 3g 0a 3pts
Greg Chase 1g 2a 3pts
Victor Rask 1g 2a 3pts
Jaynen Rissling 0g 3a 3pts

Swift Current
Graham Black 1g 2a 3pts
Coda Gordon 1g 2a 3pts
Adam Lowry 2g 0a 2pts

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Hitmen take 2-0 series lead over Swift Current

The Calgary Hitmen got a first star performance from Ottawa Senators prospect Chris Driedger and timely scoring en-route to a 3-1 win over the Swift Current Broncos and a 2-0 series lead in their Best-of-Seven Eastern Conference Quarter Final Friday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.

After the Hitmen spent the better part of the first period defending Cody Sylvester and Greg Chase got Calgary on the board in the second period.  Sylvester cashed in on a rebound for his first point of the series while Chase tipped home a Sylvester shot.

In the third period Victor Rask picked up a rebound off a Brooks Macek chance to count his first career WHL playoff goal.

Adam Lowry broke Driedger's shutout bid getting the Broncos on the scoreboard with just under 10 minutes remaining but the visitors could get no closer.

Through the first two games 14 different Hitmen have registered at least a point while their nine goals have come from seven different players.  Brady Brassart (3g), Greg Chase (1g 2a), Victor Rask (1g 2a) and Jaynen Rissling (3a) share the team lead with three points each.

The series now shifts to Saskatchewan for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Tuesday respectively

                                           Photo Credit: Brad Watson - Calgary Hitmen

Swift Current Broncos 1 at Calgary Hitmen 3
Friday, March 22, 2013 - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB

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

1st Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Brassart Cal (hooking), 8:22; Sylvester Cal (high sticking), 11:19.

2nd Period
1, Calgary, Sylvester 1 (Rissling, Rask), 11:20.
2, Calgary, Chase 1 (Sylvester), 15:50.
Penalties-Scarlett S.c (roughing), 9:03; Macek Cal (roughing), 9:03; Cave S.c (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 17:48; Zgraggen Cal (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 17:48.

3rd Period
3, Calgary, Rask 1 (Macek), 5:27.
4, Swift Current, Lowry 2 (Black, Gordon), 10:19 (PP).
Penalties-Gordon S.c (tripping), 0:42; Virtanen Cal (charging), 9:16; Humphries Cal (interference), 12:06; Reum S.c (holding), 16:28; Scarlett S.c (roughing), 17:01; Chase Cal (roughing), 17:01.

Shots on Goal-Swift Current 14-12-14-40. Calgary 7-9-7-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Swift Current 1 / 4; Calgary 0 / 2.
Goalies-Swift Current, Laurikainen 0-1-1-0 (23 shots-20 saves). Calgary, Driedger 2-0-0-0 (40 shots-39 saves).
A-9,025
Referees-Fraser Lawrence (10), Derek Zalaski (8).
Linesmen-Reid Anderson (53), Aidan Henderson (78).

Friday, 22 March 2013

Game 2 Preview: Broncos at Hitmen

One night after the Calgary Hitmen and Swift Current Broncos combined for 11 goals and overtime what will they do for an encore?  Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarter Final goes tonight at Scotiabank Saddledome with the Hitmen leading the best-of seven series 1-0 after that 6-5 victory in the opener.

Internet Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan begins at 6:40 with a 20 minute warm-up show. You can listen here: http://player.rogersradio.ca/cfac-alt/on_air

                                          Photo Credit: Brad Watson - Calgary Hitmen

There's no question the offence came to play last night as 13 different Hitmen recorded points while eight different Broncos hit the scoresheet.  Dating back to the regular season Calgary has now won seven of their last eight games scoring a combined 47 goals for a per game average of 5.88.

The Off Ice Officials do such as great job at the 'Dome so I though I'd provide you with a list of which players were around the net most for both teams last night.

GAME 1 SHOTS ON GOAL LEADERS
Calgary
Brady Brassart 6
Cody Sylvester 5
Brooks Macek 4
Greg Chase 4
Pavlo Padakin 4

Swift Current
Adam Lowry 8
Colby Cave 4
Levi Bews 3
Five other Broncos had 2 shots each

There's no question tonight's game is just as big for Calgary.  As with every road team in the playoffs the goal for Swift Current in Game 2 tonight is to gain a split on the road and take home ice advantage back to Saskatchewan for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Tuesday respectively.

LEADER OF THE PACK:  With his powerplay goal last night, Brooks Macek leads all Hitmen with 24 career playoffs points (11g 13a) in 38 games.

DID YOU KNOW?  Only three Hitmen made their WHL playoff debut last night; Victor Rask, Pavlo Padakin and Elliott Peterson.

FRANCHISE PLAYOFF RECORD: Not including their two trips to the MasterCard Memorial Cup Calgary has a lifetime playoff record of 110-78.  The Hitmen have competed in 34 series prior to this one and have won 22 and lost 12.  Calgary is 19-16 in post season overtime games.






Thursday, 21 March 2013

Calgary Hitmen work OT magic in Game 1 vs. Swift Current

In a game that saw the Swift Current Broncos overcome deficits of 4-0 and 5-3 to force overtime, it was the Calgary Hitmen who scored the final goal in a 6-5 victory in Game 1 of their Best-of-Seven Eastern Conference Quarter-Final Series.

Alex Roach was the hero sneeking a shot from the bottom of the left winger circle through the pads of Broncos goalie Eetu Laurikainen 4:32 into sudden death.

Brady Brassart registered his first career playoff hat trick for Calgary who also got goals in regulation from Brooks Macek and Colten Mayor.

Five different Broncos found the back of the net with Coda Gordon, Ryon Moser and Graham Black all picking up a goal and an assist.  Adam Lowry and Levi Bews also scored for the visitors who were outshot 38-28.

Game 2 of the series goes Friday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.  Game time is 7:00 p.m.

                                          Photo Credit: Brad Watson - Calgary Hitmen

Swift Current Broncos 5 at Calgary Hitmen 6
Thursday, March 21, 2013 - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB

Swift Current 0 3 2 0 - 5
Calgary 2 2 1 1 - 6

1st Period
1, Calgary, Macek 1 (Rask), 0:34 (PP).
2, Calgary, Brassart 1 (Humphries, Rissling), 19:05.
Penalties-Lowry S.c (interference), 0:29; Virtanen Cal (tripping), 7:51; Roach Cal (kneeing), 11:23.

2nd Period
3, Calgary, Mayor 1 (Helgesen, Clayton), 5:33.
4, Calgary, Brassart 2 (Rissling, Chase), 5:49.
5, Swift Current, Lowry 1 (Black, Heatherington), 10:23.
6, Swift Current, Moser 1 (Cave), 11:14.
7, Swift Current, Bews 1 (Moser, Cave), 12:29 (PP).
Penalties-Rissling Cal (roughing), 11:36.

3rd Period
8, Calgary, Brassart 3 (Chase, Zgraggen), 3:47.
9, Swift Current, Gordon 1 (Scarlett, Heatherington), 4:20.
10, Swift Current, Black 1 (Gordon), 13:53 (PP).
Penalties-Mayor Cal (high sticking), 9:00; Humphries Cal (delay of game), 13:33; Cave S.c (delay of game), 14:54.

OT Period
11, Calgary, Roach 1 (Padakin, Brooks), 4:32.
Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Swift Current 4-11-12-1-28. Calgary 12-9-12-5-38.
Power Play Opportunities-Swift Current 2 / 5; Calgary 1 / 2.
Goalies-Swift Current, Laurikainen 0-0-1-0 (38 shots-32 saves). Calgary, Driedger 1-0-0-0 (28 shots-23 saves).
A-6,576
Referees-Jon Stephenson (38), Colin Watt (72).
Linesmen-Cory Lundquist (128), Scott Sharun (103).

Game 1 Preview: Broncos at Hitmen

The Western Hockey League march to the Ed Chynoweth Cup begins tonight with a pair of playoff games.  One is in Calgary as Hitmen host the Swift Current Broncos in Game 1 of a Best-of-Seven Eastern Conference Quarter-Final Series. 

Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Saddledome.  Internet Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan begins at 6:30 with a 30 minute series preview show.  You can listen here: http://player.rogersradio.ca/cfac-alt/on_air


The Hitmen enter 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 Broncos are the #6 seed posting a record of 36-29-3-4 en-route to a 79 point season.

Both clubs enter the playoffs on a roll.  Calgary has won six of their last seven games scoring a combined 41 goals for a per game average of 5.85.  Swift Current also capped the regular season on a run winning eight of their last 10 holding their opponent to two goals or less in seven of those wins.

SEASON SERIES:  Swift Current took the season series winning three of the four meetings outscoring Calgary by a combined 14-12.  Adam Lowry led all Broncos with seven points (3g 4a) while five Hitmen had at least three points against Swift Current to top Calgary.  Special teams played a key role as the Broncos went 4-11 on the powerplay (36.3%) while killing all 12 Calgary chances.  The Hitmen did lead the shot clock however firing 122 shots on goal to the Broncos 105.

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

Swift Current
Adam Lowry 45g 43a 88pts
Coda Gordon 17g 42a 59pts
Graham Black 24g 26a 50pts
*Eight Broncos finished with 16 goals or more

Both team have five NHL players on their roster that have either been drafted or signed by NHL teams:
Calgary
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 (Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Los Angeles 2011);
Victor Rask (Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Carolina 2011).

Swift Current
Graham Black - 5th round (135th overall) - New Jersey Devils - 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Coda Gordon - 6th round (165th overall) - Calgary Flames - 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Adam Lowry - 3rd round (67th overall) - Winnipeg Jets - 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Reece Scarlett - 6th round (159th overall) - New Jersey Devils - 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Richard Nedomlel - 6th round (175th overall) - Detroit Red Wings - 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

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.

NORTH AMERICAN SKATERS:
#44 Dillon Heatherington - Swift Current Broncos
#94 Greg Chase - Calgary Hitmen
#111 Jay Merkley - Swift Current Broncos

NORTH AMERICAN GOALIES
#20 Eetu Laurikainen - Swift Current Broncos
#28 Mack Shields - Calgary Hitmen

PLAYOFF EXPERIENCE:  Calgary has a combined 175 games of playoff experience.  Cody Sylvester and Brooks Macek lead the way with 37 games each.  Swift Current has a combined 32 games of playoff experience.  Brent Benson tops the Broncos with 15.

HOME AND AWAY:  Calgary was 22-10-1-3 on home ice this season including an 11-2-0-1 mark since January 1st.  The Broncos were 16-17-1-2 on the road having won five of their last six games in enemy rinks.

HOLDING THE LEAD:  Calgary was 35-0-1-1 when leading after 40 minutes this season while Swift Current went 26-3-2-1 .

CALGARY BRONCOS?  Swift Current has six players from Calgary (Jay Merkley, Ryon Moser, Adam Lowry, Dillon Heatherington, Brycen Martin, Bobby Zinkan) and two more from the immediate Calgary area (Coda Gordon-Cochrane, Levi Bews-Longview)

PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS: Calgary's Cody Sylvester and Alex Roach are named Eastern Conference second team all-stars with Sylvester is also the Eastern Conference nominee for WHL Humanitarian of the Year.  Swift Current's Adam Lowry is an Eastern Conference first team all-star.

PLAYOFF HISTORY:  Calgary and Swift Current have met on three previous occasions in the WHL post season.  Their last was in 2008 when the Hitmen ousted the Broncos in six games in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final.  In 2002 Swift Current won their first round series in six games while in 1998 Calgary won their Eastern Conference Semi-Final in seven games.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Hitmen to host Broncos in opening round of the WHL playoffs

The Calgary Hitmen will face the Swift Current Broncos in the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.

The Best-of-Seven Eastern Conference Quarter-Final series opens in Calgary on Thursday, March 21st with Game 2 the following night on Friday, March 22nd. 

Both games are 7:00 p.m. starts at the Scotiabank Saddledome. 

Playoff tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations and the Scotiabank Saddledome box office.  Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.  For more information on tickets, visit www.hitmenhockey.com or contact customer service at 403-777-4646.

A buffet will be served in the Avison Young Club Dining Room before each home playoff game. For details and buffet reservations, call 403-571-9733.  The reservation line is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

2013 WHL Playoffs: Round 1 Schedule
Game 1 Thursday, March 21 7:00 p.m. Scotiabank Saddledome
Game 2 Friday, March 22 7:00 p.m.  Scotiabank Saddledome
Game 3 Monday, March 25 7:00 p.m. Credit Union i-Plex
Game 4 Tuesday, March 26 7:00 p.m. Credit Union i-Plex
Game 5* Thursday, March 28 7:00 p.m. Scotiabank Saddledome
Game 6* Saturday, March 30 7:00 p.m. Credit Union i-Plex
Game 7* Monday, April 1 7:00 p.m. Scotiabank Saddledome
*Indicates if necessary



Cody Sylvester dominates the Hitmen Awards Banquet

On Sunday the Calgary Hitmen Hockey Club in partnership with Petro-Canada, a Suncor Energy business, honoured their best at the 2012-13 Hitmen Awards Banquet at The Fairmont Palliser.  The afternoon featured special addresses from Bret “Hitman” Hart, one of the team’s founding owners, and Rick Hanson, Calgary Chief of Police.

Playing in his final Western Hockey League season and fifth consecutive year with Calgary Hitmen, captain Cody Sylvester received six awards including the Suncor Energy Player of the Year award which he previously earned in 2010-11.  Past recipients of this prestigious honour include Brad Moran and Ryan Getzlaf.  By being honoured six times, Sylvester has captured the highest number of single season team awards in franchise history.

For the second time this season, the native of Vernon, British Columbia was named the Ed Williams Player of the Month for March, a title he previously received in January.  During the 2012-13 campaign, the 20-year-old set career highs in goals (41), assists (49) and points (90) including posting a franchise-high seven-point performance (1g, 6a) on March 5.  The captain’s six-assist effort also set a franchise record for most assists in a single game.  After five seasons with the club, Sylvester is now sixth all-time in games played (315), fifth in goals (97), surpassing Getzlaf by two goals, eighth in assists (132) and tied for seventh in points (229) with Boris Protsenko.

“Cody has been a vital part of our hockey club’s success this season,” said Hitmen General Manager, Executive Vice President and Alternate Governor Kelly Kisio.  “He is well-respected in the dressing room for not only his leadership but his work ethic both on the ice and in the community.  It has been a privilege to have Cody in our organization for five seasons.  We wish him all the best in his post-WHL endeavors.”


2012-13 Calgary Hitmen Team Awards
Ed Williams Player of the Month for March: Cody Sylvester
Calgary Hitmen Leading Scorer Award: Cody Sylvester
Calgary Hitmen Booster Club Fan Favourite Award: Cody Sylvester
NSD Sports & Fitness Club Players Choice Award: Cody Sylvester
ENMAX Humanitarian Award: Cody Sylvester
Chrysler Canada Inc. Scholastic Player Award: Chase Lang
Wendy’s Rookie of the Year Award: Jake Virtanen
Husky Energy Top Defenceman Award: Co-winners Spencer Humphries, Jaynen Rissling and Alex Roach
RE/MAX Three Star Award: Cody Sylvester
TELUS Coaches Award: Spencer Humphries
Suncor Energy Player of the Year Award: Cody Sylvester

Kootenay 5 Calgary 4

Sam Reinhart broke a 4-4 third period tie with 4:05 remaining lifting the Kootenay Ice to a 5-4 win over the Calgary Hitmen Saturday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Brady Brassart scored twice for the Hitmen while Zane Jones and Calder Brooks added singles in the regular season finale for both teams.

The loss snapped Calgary's six game winning streak but also saw the Hitmen rest five veteran players in advance of the playoffs.


Kootenay Ice 5 at Calgary Hitmen 4
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB

Kootenay 2 1 2 - 5
Calgary 0 3 1 - 4

1st Period
1, Kootenay, Descheneau 29 (Reinhart, Leach), 2:22 (PP).
2, Kootenay, Descheneau 30   11:29.
Penalties-Clayton Cal (hooking), 2:13; Boyd Ktn (high sticking, high sticking), 6:56.

2nd Period
3, Calgary, Jones 21   2:56.
4, Calgary, Brassart 34 (Chase, Virtanen), 6:33.
5, Calgary, Brooks 5 (Helgesen), 9:37 (PP).
6, Kootenay, Boyd 7 (Martin, Philp), 19:45.
Penalties-O'Connor Ktn (tripping), 7:54; Padakin Cal (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 13:12.

3rd Period
7, Kootenay, Boyd 8 (Prochazka), 1:54.
8, Calgary, Brassart 35 (Chase, Virtanen), 9:03.
9, Kootenay, Reinhart 35 (Descheneau, Dirk), 15:55.
Penalties-Hubic Ktn (hooking), 3:37.

Shots on Goal-Kootenay 6-17-3-26. Calgary 3-9-5-17.
Power Play Opportunities-Kootenay 1 / 2; Calgary 1 / 4.
Goalies-Kootenay, Hoflin 1-10-1-0 (9 shots-6 saves); Skapski 34-25-1-0 (8 shots-7 saves). Calgary, Shields 10-7-0-1 (26 shots-21 saves).
A-13,477
Referees-Matt Kirk (4), Brett Montsion (54).
Linesmen-Reid Anderson (53), Justin Slimm (105).

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Calgary 5 Kootenay 3

The Calgary Hitmen extended their winning streak to six games with a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice Friday night at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook.

With the Ice leading 3-2 after 40 minutes, Hitmen captain Cody Sylvester scored both the tying and game winning goals just past the midway mark of the third period.  The two goals were his 40th and 41st of the season and completed a three point night (2g 1a) giving the 20-year-old his first career 90 point season in the Western Hockey League.  

Brady Brassart added an empty net goal to also finish the game with three points, two goals and an assist.

Calder Brooks had the other Hitmen marker while Luke Philp, Sam Reinhart and Austin Vetterl replied for the Ice who saw leads of 2-0 and 3-1 slip away.

Chris Driedger made 28 saves to pick up the win as Calgary outshot the Ice 34-31.

The Hitmen went 2-3 on the powerplay while Kootenay was 1-4.

These same two teams will meet in a rematch Saturday night at Scotiabank Saddledome to end the regular season.

Game time is 7 p.m. for the ENMAX Energy Night and Hitmen Fan Appreciation Jersey Off Our Back game.  Fans will have an opportunity to win great prizes including game-worn third jerseys, family games gift baskets courtesy of ENMAX and a $1,000 Safeway gift card.

Single game day tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations and the Scotiabank Saddledome box office.  Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.  For more information on tickets, visit www.hitmenhockey.com or contact customer service at 403-777-4646

Calgary Hitmen 5 at Kootenay Ice 3
Friday, March 15, 2013 - Western Financial Place - Cranbrook, BC

Calgary 1 1 3 - 5
Kootenay 2 1 0 - 3

1st Period
1, Kootenay, Philp 20 (Descheneau, Dirk), 6:34 (PP).
2, Kootenay, Reinhart 34 (Martin, Leach), 8:13.
3, Calgary, Brooks 4 (Harmsworth, Clayton), 15:21.
Penalties-Humphries Cal (interference), 6:21; Mayor Cal (roughing), 9:03; Vetterl Ktn (roughing), 9:03; Descheneau Ktn (hooking), 11:13.

2nd Period
4, Kootenay, Vetterl 5 (Leach, Philp), 5:45.
5, Calgary, Brassart 32 (Rask, Sylvester), 15:05 (PP).
Penalties-Mayor Cal (checking from behind), 12:01; Faith Ktn (holding), 14:16; Padakin Cal (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 15:05; Shirley Ktn (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 15:05.

3rd Period
6, Calgary, Sylvester 40 (Humphries, Brassart), 11:12 (PP).
7, Calgary, Sylvester 41 (Zgraggen, Brassart), 12:51.
8, Calgary, Brassart 33   19:49 (EN).
Penalties-Chase Cal (high sticking), 5:07; Leach Ktn (delay of game), 10:31; Macek Cal (tripping), 14:59.

Shots on Goal-Calgary 6-15-14-35. Kootenay 11-11-9-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 2 / 3; Kootenay 1 / 4.
Goalies-Calgary, Driedger 36-14-1-3 (31 shots-28 saves). Kootenay, Skapski 33-25-1-0 (34 shots-30 saves).
A-2,622
Referees-Devin Klein (9), Jon Stephenson (38).
Linesmen-Michael Boisvert (111), Jim Maniago (85).

Friday, 15 March 2013

Calgary at Kootenay

The Calgary Hitmen open a regular season ending home and home series with the Kootenay Ice tonight in Cranbrook. 

The Ice will be handing out their awards in a pre-game ceremony pushing puck drop back to around 7:25 p.m.  Internet Broadcast on www.sportsnet.ca/960 will begin following the awards presentation.

Calgary enters the contest having won five in a row to climb to 95 points.  The Ice have dropped four of their last five games.  Having already clinched a playoff spot Kootenay is eighth in the conference with 70 points.

Tonight will be the sixth of eight regular season meetings between the two clubs with the season series tied 3-3.  After winning three of the first four meetings, the Hitmen have dropped the last two meetings.

Sept. 22 in Cgy: Hitmen 5 Ice 1
Nov. 12 in Cgy: Ice 4 Hitmen 0
Dec. 2 in Cgy Hitmen 4 Ice 1
Dec. 4 in Cranbrook: Hitmen 6 Ice 1
Dec. 31 in Cranbrook: Ice 3 Hitmen 2
Feb. 23 in Cranbrook: Ice 5 Hitmen 1



Calgary 6 Medicine Hat 3

The Calgary Hitmen stretched their winning streak to five games with a 6-3 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers Tuesday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Six different Hitmen turned on the red light led by Victor Rask who finished the night with three points (1g 2a). 

Greg Chase, Jake Virtanen, Chase Clayton, Cody Sylvester and Calder Brooks also scored for Calgary while Alex Roach chipped in a pair of assists.

Chris Driedger made 31 saves to get the win as Medicine Hat outshot Calgary 34-24.

Medicine Hat Tigers 3 at Calgary Hitmen 6
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB

Medicine Hat 0 3 0 - 3
Calgary 1 3 2 - 6

1st Period
1, Calgary, Chase 17 (Brassart, Roach), 5:25.
Penalties-Virtanen Cal (slashing), 7:33; Mayor Cal (roughing), 13:11.

2nd Period
2, Calgary, Virtanen 16 (Rask, Macek), 3:24.
3, Medicine Hat, McVeigh 17 (Shinkaruk, Valk), 4:39.
4, Medicine Hat, McVeigh 18 (Shinkaruk), 8:18.
5, Calgary, Clayton 5 (Roach, Peterson), 13:06.
6, Calgary, Sylvester 39 (Rask, Helgesen), 15:50 (SH).
7, Medicine Hat, Shinkaruk 35 (Valk, McVeigh), 19:12.
Penalties-served by Chase Cal (too many men), 14:48.

3rd Period
8, Calgary, Rask 14 (Brassart, Sylvester), 1:56 (PP).
9, Calgary, Brooks 3 (Kosterman, Sylvester), 8:00.
Penalties-Lewington M.h (holding), 0:52; Hodder M.h (tripping), 3:02; Cox M.h (high sticking), 13:11; Doty M.h (roughing), 19:36; Pearce M.h (roughing), 19:36; Clayton Cal (roughing), 19:36; Jones Cal (roughing), 19:36; McVeigh M.h (roughing), 20:00; Shinkaruk M.h (interference), 20:00; Thrower Cal (roughing), 20:00.

Shots on Goal-Medicine Hat 7-20-7-34. Calgary 7-7-10-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Medicine Hat 0 / 3; Calgary 1 / 3.
Goalies-Medicine Hat, Lanigan 22-18-1-1 (13 shots-10 saves); Langhamer 15-11-1-0 (11 shots-8 saves). Calgary, Driedger 35-14-1-3 (34 shots-31 saves).
A-7,852
Referees-Fraser Lawrence (10), Steve Papp (17).
Linesmen-Aidan Henderson (78), Scott Sharun (103).

Monday, 11 March 2013

Cody Sylvester named WHL Player of the Week

From the WHL Office:

CALGARY, AB. - The Western Hockey League announced today that Calgary Hitmen forward Cody Sylvester is the Denny’s WHL Player of the Week, for the second time this season.   

Sylvester collected 12 points, scoring five goals and seven assists to go with a +8 rating in four games over the past week, helping the Hitmen to a 4-0-0-0 road record in that span.   

On Tuesday, March 5, the Hitmen were in Saskatoon to face the Blades.  Sylvester collected seven points (one goal and six assists), a Hitmen franchise record for points in a single game, and was named the game’s 1st Star in their 9-5 win over the Blades.  The next night, Wednesday, March 7, the Hitmen were in Prince Albert to face the Raiders.  Sylvester gathered one goal and one assist in Hitmen’s 4-3 road victory over the Raiders.  On Saturday, March 9, the Hitmen were back at home to host the Lethbridge Hurricanes.  Sylvester picked up two goals in Hitmen’s 9-0 triumph over the ‘Canes.  The Hitmen wrapped up a busy week Sunday, March 10, hosting the Red Deer Rebels.  Sylvester scored one goal in the Hitmen’s 4-3 over-time win over the Rebels.
Sylvester currently sits 11th among all WHL scorers with 84 points (38 goals, 46 assists) in 66 games played thus far this season.  The Calgary Hitmen are 6-3-0-1 in their past 10 contests and currently sit 3rd in the WHL Eastern Conference with a 44-20-1-4 record for 93 points.

A 20-year-old from Kelowna, BC, Sylvester is playing his fifth straight year with the Calgary Hitmen.  Originally an 8th round selection in the 2007 WHL Draft, Sylvester has gone on to appear 313 career regular season games thus far, gathering 223 points (94 goals, 129 assists).

                                               Photo Credit: Steve Hiscock

Denny’s WHL Player of the Week
 Mar. 4 – Mar. 10: Cody Sylvester, Calgary Hitmen
 
Feb. 25 – Mar. 3: Michael St. Croix, Edmonton Oil Kings
 Feb. 18 – Feb. 24: Justin Feser, Tri-City Americans
 Feb. 11 – Feb. 17: Morgan Rielly, Moose Jaw Warriors
 Feb. 4 – Feb. 10: Brenden Walker, Saskatoon Blades
 Jan. 28 – Feb. 3: Colin Smith, Kamloops Blazers
 Jan. 21 – Jan. 27: Henrik Samuelsson, Edmonton Oil Kings
 Jan. 14 – Jan. 20: Alex Gogolev, Victoria Royals
 Jan. 7 – Jan. 13: Troy Rutkowski, Portland Winterhawks
 Dec. 31 – Jan. 6: Cody Sylvester, Calgary Hitmen Dec. 17 – Dec. 30: Anthony Bardaro, Prince Albert Raiders
 Dec. 10 – Dec. 16: Josh Nicholls, Saskatoon Blades
 Dec. 3 – Dec. 9: Jaimen Yakubowski, Lethbridge Hurricanes
 Nov. 26 – Dec. 2: Jaimen Yakubowski, Lethbridge Hurricanes
 Nov. 19 – 25: Brendan Leipsic, Portland Winterhawks
 Nov. 12 – 18: Colin Smith, Kamloops Blazers
 Nov. 5 – Nov. 11: Mark McNeill, Prince Albert Raiders
 Oct. 29 – Nov. 4: Justin Feser, Tri-City Americans
 Oct. 22 – Oct. 28: Curtis Valk, Medicine Hat Tigers
 Oct. 15 – Oct. 21: Colin Smith, Kamloops Blazers
 Oct. 8 – Oct. 14: JC Lipon, Kamloops Blazers
 Oct. 1 – Oct. 7: JC Lipon, Kamloops Blazers
 Sept. 24 – Sept. 30: Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat Tigers
 Sept. 20 – Sept. 23: Nicolas Petan, Portland Winterhawks

"Denny's: open 24/7 for all your hunger needs. Whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner or late night, Denny's has you covered. Open 24/7"

Calgary 4 Red Deer 3 OT

Calder Brooks scored the winner on a powerplay 1:48 into overtime lifting the Calgary Hitmen to a 4-3 win over the Red Deer Rebels Sunday afternoon at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Cody Sylvester, Brooks Macek and Pavlo Padakin also scored for Calgary who picked up their fourth win in a row. 

Jake Virtanen had a pair of assists in a game where the Hitmen outshot the Rebels 31-25.


Red Deer Rebels 3 at Calgary Hitmen 4 (OT)
Sunday, March 10, 2013 - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB

Red Deer 1 1 1 0 - 3
Calgary 0 3 0 1 - 4

1st Period
1, Red Deer, Ness 18 (Dieno, Dumba), 6:23 (PP).
Penalties-Helgesen Cal (tripping), 4:46; Fleury R.d (cross checking), 9:34; Underwood R.d (roughing), 15:21.

2nd Period
2, Calgary, Sylvester 38 (Humphries, Brassart), 8:23 (PP).
3, Calgary, Macek 32 (Rask, Virtanen), 9:10.
4, Calgary, Padakin 22 (Brooks), 13:01.
5, Red Deer, Dumba 16 (Dieno), 17:43 (PP).
Penalties-Mayor Cal (delay of game), 5:36; Dumba R.d (tripping), 8:13; Dumba R.d (holding), 14:15; Jones Cal (roughing), 17:24.

3rd Period
6, Red Deer, Gaudet 5 (Bellerive, Dumba), 10:03.
Penalties-Padakin Cal (high sticking), 17:49; Dumba R.d (hooking), 19:55.

OT Period
7, Calgary, Brooks 2 (Roach, Virtanen), 1:48 (PP).
Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Red Deer 2-8-15-0-25. Calgary 6-16-5-4-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Red Deer 2 / 4; Calgary 2 / 5.
Goalies-Red Deer, Bartosak 33-13-5-0 (31 shots-27 saves). Calgary, Driedger 34-14-1-3 (25 shots-22 saves).
A-10,792
Referees-Tyler Adair (58), Nathan Wieler (18).
Linesmen-Michael Roberts (87), Ian Shaver (74).

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Calgary 9 Lethbridge 0

The Calgary Hitmen have now scored a combined 22 goals in their last three games following a 9-0 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Brooks Macek collected his third career hat trick while Chris Driedger made 22 saves to pick up his fifth career shutout.

After a scoreless first period, the Hitmen took a 3-0 lead to the dressing room after 40 minutes before blowing the game wide open in the third period en-route to their third win in a row.

The line of Macek (3g), Jake Virtanen (1g 3a) and Victor Rask (1g 2a) combined for 10 points.  For Virtanen, his team leading four points was a career high.

Pavlo Padakin, Brady Brassart and Cody Sylvester also scored while Kenton Helgesen added a pair of assists.

The Hitmen will now host Red Deer Sunday at 4:00 p.m.  The Rebels have won five in a row, sitting seven points back of Calgary for third spot in the Eastern Conference Standings.


Lethbridge Hurricanes 0 at Calgary Hitmen 9
Saturday, March 9, 2013 - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB

Lethbridge 0 0 0 - 0
Calgary 0 3 6 - 9

1st Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Erkamps Let (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 19:01; Padakin Cal (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 19:01.

2nd Period
1, Calgary, Macek 29 (Rask, Virtanen), 4:23.
2, Calgary, Sylvester 36   17:22.
3, Calgary, Rask 13 (Roach, Humphries), 18:57 (PP).
Penalties-Padakin Cal (interference), 9:51; Derko Let (checking from behind), 11:39; Brassart Cal (interference), 16:37; Erkamps Let (hooking), 17:15; Ramsay Let (10-minute misconduct), 20:00; Chase Cal (10-minute misconduct), 20:00.

3rd Period
4, Calgary, Macek 30 (Rask, Virtanen), 0:57.
5, Calgary, Padakin 21 (Brassart), 8:59 (PP).
6, Calgary, Virtanen 15 (Zgraggen, Helgesen), 11:49.
7, Calgary, Macek 31 (Padakin, Mayor), 13:08 (PP).
8, Calgary, Brassart 31 (Brooks, Helgesen), 14:54.
9, Calgary, Sylvester 37 (Virtanen), 17:17 (SH).
Penalties-Clayton Cal (roughing), 4:45; Harper Let (10-minute misconduct), 7:13; Laurencelle Let (roughing), 7:13; Pilon Let (roughing), 7:13; Rimmer Let (roughing), 7:13; Clayton Cal (10-minute misconduct), 7:13; Helgesen Cal (roughing), 7:13; Macek Cal (roughing), 7:13; Simpson Let (tripping), 12:07; Henry Let (roughing), 13:02; Padakin Cal (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 13:38; Humphries Cal (tripping), 15:37; Topping Let (major-fighting), 18:12; Padakin Cal (major-fighting), 18:12; Mayor Cal (high sticking), 18:51.

Shots on Goal-Lethbridge 11-5-6-22. Calgary 9-15-20-44.
Power Play Opportunities-Lethbridge 0 / 6; Calgary 3 / 5.
Goalies-Lethbridge, Rimmer 23-29-3-7 (41 shots-33 saves); Tai 3-3-0-0 (3 shots-2 saves). Calgary, Driedger 33-14-1-3 (22 shots-22 saves).
A-11,185
Referees-Adam Byblow (23), Derek Zalaski (8).
Linesmen-Reid Anderson (53), Sean Donnelly (109).

Friday, 8 March 2013

Hitmen to open playoffs March 21st

The Calgary Hitmen will open the Western Hockey League playoffs at home on Thursday, March 21st.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will also be held in Calgary on Friday, March 22nd.

Both are 7:00 pm starts at Scotiabank Saddledome. 

The Hitmen secured home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs Wednesday night with their win in Prince Albert. 

The rest of the series will be announced once an opponent is determined.

Heading into Friday night it's still mathematically possible Calgary could draw any one of the following four teams in the opening round of the post season; Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Kootenay or Prince Albert.

Starting at $18 for adults and $12 for children (plus GST and SFPFF), playoff tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, March 13 at 10 a.m. at all Ticketmaster locations and the Scotiabank Saddledome box office. 

Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.  For more information on tickets, visit www.hitmenhockey.com or contact customer service at 403-777-4646.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Calgary 4 Prince Albert 3

Rookie forward Elliott Peterson broke a 3-3 third period tie with 7:25 remaining lifting the Calgary Hitmen to a 4-3 win over the Prince Albert Raiders Wednesday night at Art Hauser Centre.

Peterson scored a pair of goals to finish the game with a career high three points (2g 1a) in a first star performance.

Chase Clayton and Cody Sylvester both had a goal and an assist for the Hitmen who after opening the scoring in the first period erased a 3-1 second period deficit.

The win clinches home ice advantage for Calgary in the opening round of the Western Hockey League playoffs with a start date to be announced later this month.

Colby Harmsworth chipped in a pair of assists while Chris Driedger made 38 saves in a game where Prince Albert outshot Calgary 41-32.

Calgary, third in the Eastern Conference with 89 points, has now won two in a row to improve to 42-20-1-4.

Four of their remaining five regular season games are at Scotiabank Saddledome starting this weekend.

On Friday the Hitmen welcome Lethbridge for a 7pm start before hosting Red Deer Sunday at 4pm.  Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations as well as the Scotiabank Saddledome box office.  Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.  For more information on tickets, visit www.hitmenhockey.com or contact customer service at 403-777-4646.

Calgary Hitmen 4 at Prince Albert Raiders 3
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - Art Hauser Centre - Prince Albert, SK

Calgary 1 2 1 - 4
Prince Albert 1 2 0 - 3

1st Period-1, Calgary, Clayton 4 (Harmsworth, Peterson), 6:17. 2, Prince Albert, Draisaitl 20 (McNeill), 19:16. Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period-3, Prince Albert, Knutsen 8 (Gardiner, Vandane), 3:18. 4, Prince Albert, McNeill 22 (Draisaitl, Morrissey), 9:20 (PP). 5, Calgary, Sylvester 35 (Clayton, Mayor), 12:00 (PP). 6, Calgary, Peterson 3 (Sylvester, Harmsworth), 18:11. Penalties-Bardaro P.a (slashing), 3:22; Chase Cal (roughing), 5:04; Brassart Cal (slashing), 8:08; Bardaro P.a (holding), 10:23; Jones Cal (high sticking), 12:34.

3rd Period-7, Calgary, Peterson 4 (Rask, Padakin), 12:35. Penalties-Brooks Cal (high sticking), 1:15; Zgraggen Cal (interference), 5:01.
Shots on Goal-Calgary 8-12-12-32. Prince Albert 11-18-12-41.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 1 / 2; Prince Albert 1 / 5.
Goalies-Calgary, Driedger 32-14-1-3 (41 shots-38 saves). Prince Albert, Siemens 33-20-2-3 (32 shots-28 saves).
A-2,584
Referees-Jon Stephenson (38), Colin Watt (72).
Linesmen-Jason Bourdon (108), Bob Schrader (126).

Calgary at Prince Albert

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.
                                                                SERIES RECAP
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.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Calgary 9 Saskatoon 5

The line of Cody Sylvester, Brady Brassart and Greg Chase combined for 14 points as the Calgary Hitmen beat the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup host Saskatoon Blades 9-5 Tuesday night at Credit Union Centre.

Sylvester led the charge with a goal and six assists setting a franchise record for most points in a single game with seven, topping 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.

Brassart, (2g2a), Chase (2g1a) and Jake Virtanen (2g) all scored twice for the Hitmen, who built period leads of 5-2 and 6-3, while Pavlo Padakin and Jaynen Rissling added singles.

Sylvester and Rissling both finished with a team leading plus six.

Calgary chased Blades starting goalie Andrey Makarov scoring seven goals on 31 shots.  Makarov entered the game 3-0 against the Hitmen this season with a .65 goals against average and a .982 save percentage to go along with a pair of shutouts.

Calgary is now 1-1 on their three game road trip and will wrap up the swing tomorrow night in Prince Albert.  Internet broadcast on www.sportsnet.ca/960 starts at 6:00 p.m. MST.

The Hitmen, third in the 12 team Eastern Conference at 41-20-1-4, then return home to host the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday night.  Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Saddledome.  Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations as well as the Scotiabank Saddledome box office.  Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.  For more information on tickets, visit www.hitmenhockey.com or contact customer service at 403-777-4646.

                                                   Photo Credit: Steve Hiscock

Calgary Hitmen 9 at Saskatoon Blades 5
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - Credit Union Centre - Saskatoon, SK

Calgary 5 1 3 - 9
Saskatoon 2 1 2 - 5

1st Period
1, Calgary, Brassart 29 (Sylvester, Rissling), 0:17.
2, Calgary, Virtanen 13 (Macek, Roach)  3:35.
3, Saskatoon, Nicholls 42 (Craig, Sutter), 12:37.
4, Calgary, Sylvester 34 (Brassart, Chase), 14:31.
5, Calgary, Padakin 20 (Brooks, Jones), 15:20.
6, Saskatoon, Stransky 40 (Walker), 18:49.
7, Calgary, Rissling 5 (Mayor, Sylvester), 19:31.
Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period
8, Saskatoon, Dietz 21 (Pufahl, Walker), 12:38 (PP).
9, Calgary, Chase 15 (Sylvester, Rask), 13:31.
Penalties-Brooks Cal (roughing), 5:43; Brassart Cal (hooking), 12:04; Nicholls Sas (hooking), 15:27; Brassart Cal (inter. on goaltender), 16:23.

3rd Period
10, Saskatoon, Valcourt 21 (Walker), 3:32.
11, Calgary, Chase 16 (Sylvester, Brassart), 9:27.
12, Saskatoon, Pufahl 6 (Nicholls, Dietz), 11:14 (PP).
13, Calgary, Virtanen 14 (Rissling, Sylvester), 11:59.
14, Calgary, Brassart 30 (Sylvester), 17:44.
Penalties-Zgraggen Cal (delay of game), 4:32; Roach Cal (major-fighting), 9:01; Stransky Sas (major-fighting), 9:01; Brooks Cal (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 9:43; Sutter Sas (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 9:43; Macek Cal (tripping), 10:43; Stransky Sas (tripping), 18:12; Walker Sas (cross checking), 18:12; Siemens Sas (cross checking), 18:28.

Shots on Goal-Calgary 20-7-11-38. Saskatoon 10-10-9-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 0 / 4; Saskatoon 2 / 5.
Goalies-Calgary, Driedger 31-14-1-3 (29 shots-24 saves). Saskatoon, Makarov 35-17-1-3 (31 shots-24 saves); Moodie 4-4-0-0 (7 shots-5 saves).
A-6,252
Referees-Fraser Lawrence (10), Derek Zalaski (8).
Linesmen-Kyle Paulsen (96), Brent Tournier (113).

Calgary at Saskatoon

HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (40-20-1-4) play game two of a three game road trip tonight in Saskatoon against the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup host Blades.  Radio Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan starts at 6:00 p.m. MST.  The Hitmen are coming off Sunday’s 5-2 loss in Medicine Hat. The Tigers built a 2-0 first period lead despite being outshot 21-9.  Calgary finished with 41 shots while getting goals from Brady Brassart and Alex Roach.  Calgary sits third in the WHL’s Eastern Conference with 85 points.  Their magic number to clinch home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs is three.  Any number of Hitmen wins combined with either Red Deer or Prince Albert losses totaling three will ensure the Hitmen open the post season at Scotiabank Saddledome.


VS. SASKATOON: Tonight is the fourth and final meeting between the two clubs.  The Blades lead the season series 3-0 having outscored Calgary by a combined 13-2.  Captain Brenden Walker tops Saskatoon in the season series with five points (3g 2a) while Andrey Makarov is 3-0 with a .65 GAA and a.982 save percentage.  Calgary is 3-6 in their last nine trips to Credit Union Centre.
                                                             SERIES RECAP
Nov. 30/12 at CAL: Blades 4 Hitmen 0; Matt Revel (2g1a) & Matej Stransky (3a) led the offence while Andrey Makarov made 25 saves.
Feb. 1/13 at SAS: Blades 6 Hitmen 0; Andrey Makarov made 42 saves.  Brendan Walker and Nathan Burns both scored twice.
Feb. 27/13 at CAL: Blades 3 Hitmen 2 Shootout; Brett Stovin scored twice for the Blades while Andrey Makarov made 41 saves.
                                                         INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 110 SASK 86    Power Plays: CAL 1-18 (5.5%) SASK 2-16 (12.5%)    

DID YOU KNOW?  The Hitmen have given up the first goal in each of their last four games….Calgary has been shorthanded a WHL leading 338 times.  Conversely they’ve had the 12th most powerplay chances with 271.

SHORTHANDED THREAT:  Brady Brassart scored shorthanded Tuesday in Medicine Hat.  It’s was the 12th shorthanded goal the Hitmen have scored this season.  Only Spokane (14) and Tri-City (13) has scored more.

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 Western Hockey League 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 WOES:  Although the Hitmen enter tonight winless in four (0-3-0-1) it’s not from a lack of shots.  In their last four games, including five failed attempts in a shootout, the Hitmen have only scored six goals on 154 shots.  Opposition goalies Mackenzie Skapski (Ktn), Andrey Makarov (Sask), Eetu Laurikainen (SC) and Marek Langhamer (MH) posted a combined .961 save percentage.  The run of hot goalies has also affected the Hitmen powerplay which has gone a combined 1-21 in that same stretch.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: This current trip which includes one more stop in Prince Albert tomorrow is Calgary’s last extended trip of the regular season.  Once complete, the club will play four of their remaining five games on home ice with only a trip to Cranbrook in a season ending home-and-home series with the Kootenay Ice.

40 WINS: On February 22, the Hitmen recorded their 40th win of the season, marking the ninth time in franchise history the club has tallied at least 40 wins during the regular season.  The club record for most regular season wins is 59, set in 2008-09 when the Hitmen finished the campaign 59-9-3-1.

SCORING RACE:  Brooks Macek (73pts) and Cody Sylvester (72pts) 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

CLIMBING THE RANKS: In his fifth season in Calgary, Cody Sylvester is moving up the list of all-time scorers in club history.  Sylvester has played 309 games with the Hitmen and has 89 goals and 122 assists for 211 points. The Vernon, BC product is now sixth all-time in games played, 10th in goals as well as 9th in assists. Sylvester only trails Ryan Getzlaf by four points for a share of eighth in all-time points.

MILESTONE WATCH: Brady Brassart is one assist shy of 100 career assists, while Swedish import Victor Rask needs one more helper to reach 50.  Assistant captain Brooks Macek is one point away from hitting 200 career points.

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 game-winning markers 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: The Hitmen wrap up the road trip tomorrow in Prince Albert.  Internet Broadcast on sportsnet.ca/960 starts at 6:00 p.m. MST.  Calgary is then back in Scotiabank Saddledome this weekend for a pair of games hosting Lethbridge Saturday at 7pm and Red Deer on Sunday at 4pm.

Medicine Hat 5 Calgary 2

In a game that started 40 minutes late because of weather delays, Marek Langhamer made 39 saves while Curtis Valk had a goal and an assist as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Calgary Hitmen 5-2 Sunday night at The Arena.

The Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 second period lead before Brady Brassart got the Hitmen on the board with a shorthanded marker, his 28th goal of the season.

Medicine Hat then extended their lead to 4-1 early in the third period before Alex Roach scored Calgary’s second goal of the night, his 15th of the season.

The Hitmen outshot Medicine Hat 41-34 including 21-9 in the first period but see their winless streak reach four games (0-3-0-1).

Calgary went 0-5 on the powerplay while the Tigers were 1-8.

                                             Photo Credit: Double E Photography

Calgary Hitmen 2 at Medicine Hat Tigers 5
Sunday, March 3, 2013 - Medicine Hat Arena

Calgary 0 1 1 - 2
Medicine Hat 2 1 2 - 5

1st Period
1, Medicine Hat, Ryckman 1 (Valk, Pearce), 5:38.
2, Medicine Hat, Valk 42 11:50 (SH).
Penalties-Hodder M.h (roughing), 2:44; Lewington M.h (hooking), 10:59; Cox M.h (tripping), 16:51.

2nd Period
3, Medicine Hat, Shinkaruk 33 (Pearce, Valk), 4:26.
4, Calgary, Brassart 28 (Helgesen, Brooks), 11:49 (SH).
Penalties-Brooks Cal (slashing), 9:25; Humphries Cal (slashing), 11:25; Rissling Cal (interference), 17:09.

3rd Period
5, Medicine Hat, Hodder 3 (Doty, Bredo), 6:44 (PP).
6, Calgary, Roach 15 (Brassart, Padakin), 18:23.
7, Medicine Hat, Lewington 2 (Langhamer, Bredo), 19:29 (EN).
Penalties-Mayor Cal (hooking), 2:31; Humphries Cal (cross checking), 2:41; Humphries Cal (tripping), 5:34; Jones Cal (high sticking), 8:46; Shinkaruk M.h (holding), 9:52; Hodder M.h (hooking), 11:39; Roach Cal (cross checking), 15:32.

Shots on Goal-Calgary 21-8-12-41. Medicine Hat 9-11-15-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 0 / 5; Medicine Hat 1 / 8.
Goalies-Calgary, Shields 10-6-0-1 (34 shots-30 saves). Medicine Hat, Langhamer 14-10-1-0 (41 shots-39 saves).
A-4,006
Referees-Sean Raphael (28), Chris Schlenker (90).
Linesmen-Darren Holeha (47), Michael Roberts (87).

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Calgary at Medicine Hat

HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (40-19-1-4) open a three game road trip tonight in Medicine Hat against the Tigers.  Internet Broadcast on www.sportsnet.ca/960 starts at 6:00 p.m.  The Hitmen are coming off Friday’s 3-1 home ice loss to Swift Current.  Eetu Laurikainen made 36 saves in a first star performance as the Hitmen outshot the Broncos 37-20.  All the scoring came in the first period with Victor Rask netting the lone Hitmen marker.  Swift Current went 1-2 on the powerplay while Calgary was 0-5. Calgary sits third in the WHL’s Eastern Conference with 85 points.  Their magic number to clinch home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs is three.  Any number of Hitmen wins combined with either Red Deer or Prince Albert losses totaling three will ensure the Hitmen open the post season at Scotiabank Saddledome.


VS. MEDICINE HAT: Tonight is the fifth of six meetings with the season series tied 2-2. Cody Sylvester (3g, 1a) leads the Hitmen in scoring against the Tigers with four points, followed by Victor Rask (2g, 1a) with three. Hunter Shinkaruk (3g, 4a) tops the Tigers with seven points against Calgary followed by Curtis Valk (4g, 1a) with five.  Over the last five seasons, the Hitmen are 16-11-0-1 against the Tigers, including an 8-6-0-0 record when on the road.
                                                                      SERIES RECAP
Oct.26/12 at CAL: Tigers 10 Hitmen 1 Curtis Valk (4g, 1a) and Hunter Shinkaruk (1g, 4a) each with five points for the Tigers.
Nov.23/12 at CAL: Hitmen 4 Tigers 1 Cody Sylvester (2g, 1a) recorded three points, while Chris Driedger stopped 24 shots.
Jan. 19/13 at M.H.: Tigers 4 Hitmen 0 Rookie goaltender Marek Langhamer made 30 saves for his first career WHL shutout.
Jan 29/13 at M.H.: Hitmen 3 Tigers 2 Calgary overcame a 2-0 second period deficit outshooting the Tigers 48-26.
                                                                   INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 125  M.H. 114   Power Plays: CAL 2-21 (9.5%)  M.H 7-27 (25.9%)   Next Meeting: Tues., Mar. 12 at Cal, 7 p.m.

SCORING TROUBLES:  Although the Hitmen enter tonight winless in three (0-2-0-1) it’s not from a lack of shots.  In their last three games, including five failed attempts in a shootout, the Hitmen have only scored four goals on 113 shots.  Opposition goalies Mackenzie Skapski (Ktn), Andrey Makarov (Sask) and Eetu Laurikainen (SC) posted a combined .964 save percentage.  The run of hot goalies has also affected the Hitmen powerplay which has gone a combined 1-16 in that same stretch.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: This current trip to Medicine Hat tonight, Saskatoon on Tuesday and Prince Albert Wednesday is Calgary’s last extended trip of the regular season.  Once complete, the club will play four of their remaining five games on home ice with only a trip to Cranbrook in a season ending home-and-home series with the Kootenay Ice.

DID YOU KNOW? On February 22, the Hitmen recorded their 40th win of the season, marking the ninth time in franchise history the club has tallied at least 40 wins during the regular season.  The club record for most regular season wins is 59, set in 2008-09 when the Hitmen finished the campaign 59-9-3-1.

SCORING RACE:  Brooks Macek (73pts) and Cody Sylvester (72pts) 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

GETTING THE CALL: On Wednesday, 16-year old defenceman Ben Thomas played his fifth game of the season with the Hitmen. The Calgary native was selected in by the Hitmen in the third round, 45th overall, in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.  Thomas has spent the majority of the regular season with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks where he has four goals and two assists for six points in 42 contests. Thomas is one of two local products to play for the Hitmen this season, joining fellow rearguard Peter Kosterman.

CLIMBING THE RANKS: Now in his fifth season with Calgary, Cody Sylvester is moving up the lists of all-time scorers in club history.  Sylvester has played 308 games with the Hitmen and has 89 goals and 122 assists for 211 points. The Vernon, British Columbia product is now sixth all-time in games played, 10th in goals as well as 9th in assists. Sylvester only trails Ryan Getzlaf by four points for a share of eighth in all-time points.

MILESTONE WATCH: Brady Brassart is one assist shy of 100 career assists, while Swedish import Victor Rask needs one more helper to reach 50.  Assistant captain Brooks Macek is one point away from hitting 200 career points.

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 game-winning markers 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: Tomorrow is a travel day for the Hitmen before taking on the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup host Saskatoon Blades at Credit Union Centre Tuesday night.  Radio Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan starts at 6:00 p.m. MST.

Swift Current 3 Calgary 1

Eetu Laurikainen turned in a first star performance making 36 saves as the Swift Current Broncos posted a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen Friday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.

All the scoring came in the first period with the Broncos getting on the board first on a powerplay goal from Graham Black.  But just 29 seconds later the Hitmen pulled even when Victor Rask, celebrating his 20th birthday, tallied his 12th of the season.

Swift Current then pulled in front again on the eventual game winner from Adam Lowry who tipped in his 41st of the season.  Flames prospect Coda Gordon extended the Broncos lead to 3-1 in the final minute of the first period scoring his 16th of the season.

The second period was all Calgary outshooting Swift Current 19-4 but Laurikainen proved unbeatable.

In the third period the Broncos were much better defensively limiting the Hitmen to just eight shots en route to victory.

As a possible opening round playoff meeting, Swift Current captured the season series going 3-1 against Calgary.


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

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

1st Period
1, Swift Current, Black 23 (Heatherington, Merkley), 5:12 (PP).
2, Calgary, Rask 12 (Macek, Mayor), 5:41.
3, Swift Current, Lowry 41 (Heatherington, Scarlett), 17:20.
4, Swift Current, Gordon 16   19:42.
Penalties-Sylvester Cal (tripping), 3:23; Lund S.c (interference), 12:52.

2nd Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Reum S.c (high sticking), 1:38; Mackay S.c (tripping), 3:29; Dale S.c (roughing), 10:55; Virtanen Cal (roughing), 10:55; Martin S.c (holding), 12:16.

3rd Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Peterson Cal (tripping), 6:51; Heatherington S.c (interference), 9:12.

Shots on Goal-Swift Current 10-3-7-20. Calgary 10-19-8-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Swift Current 1 / 2; Calgary 0 / 5.
Goalies-Swift Current, Laurikainen 25-22-2-4 (37 shots-36 saves). Calgary, Driedger 30-14-1-3 (20 shots-17 saves); Shields 10-5-0-1 (0 shots-0 saves).
A-10,674
Referees-Ryan Benbow (62), Clayton Hall (42).
Linesmen-Reid Anderson (53), Aidan Henderson (78).

Friday, 1 March 2013

Swift Current at Calgary

The Calgary Hitmen wrap up a mini two game home stand tonight against the Swift Current Broncos.  Game time is 7pm at Scotiabank Saddledome.  It's the seventh annual Lunar Celebration recognizing the various multi-cultural communities in Calgary by celebrating the Lunar New Year.  Among the highlights: Multiple prizes for fans to win through the 7,500 fortune cookies that will be handed out upon entering the Saddledome, dynamic intermission entertainment including an on-ice Dragon/Lion Dance and a spectacular post game indoor fireworks display.  Radio Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan starts at 7 o'clock.

THE STANDINGS:  Calgary (40-18-1-4) is third in the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference with 85 points while Swift Current (30-27-3-4) is seventh in the conference with 67 points.

HEADING IN:  The Hitmen are coming off Wednesday's 3-2 shootout loss to Saskatoon at the 'Dome while the Broncos also played Wednesday producing a 3-2 overtime win in Brandon.

TOP SCORERS:
Calgary
Cody Sylvester 33g 39a 72pts
Brooks Macek 28g 44a 72pts
Brady Brassart 27g 35a 62pts
Swift Current
Adam Lowry 40g 40 80pts
Coda Gordon 15g 38a 53pts
Graham Black 22g 23a 45pts