The Calgary Hitmen put another notch in the win column on Wednesday night as they opened a four-game home stand against the Moose Jaw Warriors with a 2-1 shootout victory.
“We don’t want to look too far ahead, every game is going to be a big one,” explained Calgary Hitmen bench boss, Mike Williamson. “This month we have an opportunity to do something if we start to play better at home and maintain our place in the standings. Its’ tight so if we don’t figure it out there are a lot of teams right behind us.”
Calgary returned to the Scotiabank Saddledome following three consecutive road wins, hoping to bridge the gap between their road and home results. Entering tonight’s action, the Hitmen have put up an 8-1-0-1 record in opposing arenas compared to a 3-3-1-1 home record.
Solid defense on behalf of both squads kept the puck at bay in the opening frame as only eight total shots were registered.
“Guys were playing good defensive hockey tonight, we had lots of blocked shots, something that guys can be hesitant to do, so it was nice to see tonight,” said netminder Chris Driedger, who recorded 28 saves on the night, as well as two in the shootout. “We just need to work on our offensive game.”
Offensive pressure was established early in the second period as the teams exchanged goals less than 15 seconds apart.
Following a Moose Jaw tally off the stick of Carter Hansen, Hitmen newcomer Brendan Hurley wasted no time responding for Calgary as he powered his way to the middle of the ice and unleashed a snapshot past Warriors’ netminder Justin Paulic.
Hurley has been a welcome addition to the roster, registering three goals over just seven games played.
However, the lamps on either end of the rink stayed dark for the remainder of regulation as the focus shifted once again to defensive play.
Calgary continued to be impenetrable on the penalty kill as five powerplay opportunities went unrewarded for the visitors. The addition of these stats means the Hitmen have killed their last 22 shorthanded situations.
“It’s just about bearing down on faceoffs, being committed to blocking shots, and staying out of the box, so tonight I thought that was one area that was very good,” commented Williamson on the penalty killing success.
Calgary, now 12-4-1-2, extended their winning streak to four straight to remain ranked first overall in the Eastern Conference.
Tonight was the second of four meetings between the Hitmen and Warriors with Calgary now leading the season series 2-0.
Calgary continues their four-game home stand on Friday, November 9 when the Victoria Royals visit the Scotiabank Saddledome, with a 7 p.m. puck drop. Fans are encouraged to wear black as the Hitmen, in partnership with CrossIron Mills, Blackout the Dome. During the November 9 CrossIron Mills game promotion, the first 2,000 fans will receive black foam fingers. Fans will also have an opportunity to win CrossIron Mills gift certificates when 500 balloons drop from the rafters during the second intermission.
Tickets for Hitmen games 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, including the Sunday Ticket Pack and Name Your Game Flex Package contact customer service at 403-777-4646.