Sylvester scores Teddy Bear goal as Hitmen blank Rebels 2-0
By Laurence Heinen
CALGARY, AB. – It didn’t take Cody Sylvester long to trigger a massive avalanche of stuffed toys at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday.
Sylvester scored at 3:49 of the opening frame to prompt the 16,844 fans in attendance at the 16th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss to litter the ice with 23,096 furry critters.
“It was unbelievable scoring in front of all those fans and all those teddy bears coming down on you,” said Sylvester, whose 10th goal of the season stood up as the game-winner in Calgary’s 2-0 triumph over the Red Deer Rebels. “It’s a pretty special moment.”
Sylvester was also pleased that the Hitmen took care of business throughout the rest of the game to emerge victorious.
“It’s a huge win for our team,” he said. “We’ve been struggling lately and Red Deer’s been playing pretty well. That’s probably the best we’ve played for a long time and the closest we’ve played for 60 minutes and we’re going to try to bring that to the next game.”
Goalie Michael Snider stopped all 27 shots he faced, including 15 in the third period, for his first shutout of the season and second win in a row.
“Everyone seemed very confident with the big crowd and not too many nerves out there,” said Snider “I felt very confident. I wasn’t even expecting the shutout. I’m happy with just the win. It’s nice to get it.”
Celebrating his 20th birthday, Kris Foucault notched an insurance goal on a Hitmen power play in the second period to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games.
“Luckily I snuck in back door and got another one on (Red Deer goalie Darcy) Kuemper,” said Foucault, who credited Misha Fisenko and Matt MacKenzie for setting him up for his 12 goal of the campaign. “To tell you the honest truth, I just shot the puck and kind of closed my eyes.”
With their second straight win, the Hitmen improved to 9-21-2-0, while the Rebels fell to 20-9-1-3 with three straight losses on the weekend.
“They were coming off of three in three nights,” pointed out Snider. “You’ve got to give it to them, that’s a hard thing to do. I thought our team came out hard and fought hard and we came out winners. They weren’t giving up, they weren’t letting up. They worked, but our team did a good job at holding everyone out and keeping the shots from the outside for me.”
Goalie Darcy Kuemper made 20 saves in a losing cause for the Rebels.
On Monday morning the Hitmen will begin doling out of thousands of stuffed toys when the Petro-Canada West Hills gas station will be turned into a teddy bear distribution point. More than 50 agencies will pick up their donated bears which will be loaded into trucks by Hitmen players.
Several Hitmen players will then visit the Alberta Children’s Hospital and will personally deliver 4000 teddy bears to patients.
The Hitmen will then return to action on Tuesday night (7 p.m.) at the ’Dome against the Chilliwack Chiefs.
“We’ve got to look forward to the next games,” said Snider in regards to a stretch of three games in four nights this coming week prior to the Christmas break. “They’re coming up quick. We’ve got to get wins while we can and keep working.”
“I think we need to get on a roll here before Christmas,” noted Foucault.
1. Cody Sylvester
2. Kris Foucault
3. Michael Snider
REBELS 0 at HITMEN 2
1. Calgary, Sylvester 10 (MacMaster) 3:49
Penalties – Grayson RD, Lawrence Cal (fighting) 6:22, MacKenzie Cal (interference) 6:42, Ferguson RD (slashing), MacMaster Cal (delay of game) 7:16, Muller RD (boarding, fighting), Kambeitz RD (fighting, game misconduct), Rissling Cal (fighting), Fiddler (hooking, fighting, game misconduct) 12:06, Cowan RD (holding) 12:15, MacMaster Cal (slashing) 12:37, Petrovic RD (roughing) 15:30, Santini Cal (tripping) 17:44.
2. Calgary, Foucault 12 (Fisenko, MacKenzie) 12:49 (pp)
Penalties – Ferguson RD (hooking) 9:32, RD bench (too many men, served by Kudrna) 11:45, Schmidt Cal (interference) 16:11.
Penalties – Kirsch Cal (high-sticking) 6:04, Dumba RD (tripping) 12:25, Foucault Cal (delay of game) 13:54, Ferguson RD (hooking) 16:51, Schmidt Cal (slashing) 18:36, Ferguson RD (roughing, misconduct) 19:27.
Shots on goal by:
Red Deer 6 6 15 – 27
Calgary 10 3 9 – 22
Goal – Red Deer: Kuemper (L, 20-6-2); Calgary: Snider (W, 6-11-1).
Power plays (goals-chances) – RD: 0-7; Cal: 1-6.
Referees – Colby Smith, Ryan Thompson. Linesmen – Bobby Bedingfield, Michael Roberts.
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