HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (19-6-1-2) open a home-and-home series tonight when they visit the Edmonton Oil Kings (18-6-2-3) at Rexall Place. Calgary enters the Battle of Alberta on a two-game winning streak, following a 6-1 road victory over the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday. Greg Chase scored a pair of goals for the second straight game, while Brooks Macek (1g, 2a) and Victor Rask (1g, 2a) both registered three points for Calgary. Mack Shields, in his first start in seven games, made 30 saves to pick up the win as the Hitmen outshot Kootenay 41-31. At 41 points, Calgary and Edmonton are tied for the Central Division lead, with the Hitmen having a game in hand. Both clubs sit one point behind the Eastern Conference-leading Prince Albert Raiders.
VS. EDMONTON: Tonight is the fourth of six meetings between the Hitmen and Oil Kings, with Calgary leading the season series 3-0-0-0. Brooks Macek tops the Hitmen with three goals and four assists against Edmonton, while Brady Brassart (2g, 3a) follows with five points over the provincial rivals. Michael St. Croix (1g, 5a) and T.J. Foster (6g) lead the Oil Kings in scoring against the Hitmen with six points each in the series. Over the last five seasons, Calgary is 16-11-0-0 against Edmonton, including a 7-7-0-0 road record.
Sept. 28/12 at EDM: Hitmen 4 Oil Kings 1 ... Four different Hitmen scored goals, while Chris Driedger recorded 34 saves.
Oct. 7/12 at CAL: Hitmen 6 Oil Kings 5 OT ... A. Roach had two goals and an assist, while S. Humphries tallied the GWG in OT.
Oct. 12/12 at EDM: Hitmen 5 Oil Kings 4 SO ... B. Macek (2g) and B. Brassart (2a) posted two-point performances, while G. Chase netted the GWG in the SO.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 92 EDM 102
Power Plays: CAL 2-14 (14.2%) EDM 5-11 (45.4%)
Next Meeting: Sat., Dec. 8 at CAL, 7PM
HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:
Goals (16) Cody Sylvester
Assists (21) Brooks Macek
Points (33) Brooks Macek
Power Play Goals (9) Cody Sylvester
Plus-Minus (+16) A. Roach, B. Macek
PIM (77) Darian Henry
Wins (15) Chris Driedger
HOME-AND-HOMES: Calgary plays the first half of a home-and-home set tonight against Edmonton, marking the fifth home-and-home series the Hitmen have played this year. Last season, Calgary only played two home-and-home sets, winning all four contests against Swift Current and Kootenay. The Hitmen have won all eight of their games involved in home-and-homes this season and will play two more sets, with the next home-and-home series on Dec. 28-29 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
VAUGHN HONOURS: Netminder Chris Driedger was named the VAUGHN WHL Goaltender of the Month for November. Selected by the Ottawa Senators in the third round, 76th overall, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Driedger posted an 8-1-0-0 record through November with a 1.87 goals-against average and 0.935 save percentage. The 18-year-old Winnipeg, Manitoba, native allowed just 17 goals on 263 shots-against, while earning a Three Star selection in five of nine games played, including two First Star selections. Last season, he was named the VAUGHN WHL Goaltender of the Month for January.
TEAM SWEDEN: On Monday, defending gold medallist Sweden announced forward Victor Rask has been named to their 25-player preliminary roster for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. Rask is one of the six returnees this year, joining his fellow 2012 gold medallists Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall, Sebastian Collberg, Filip Forsberg, William Karlsson and Rickard Rakell. He is also one of the six players representing North American teams at the tournament. Rask, forwards Rakell and Nick Sörensen, goalie Oscar Dansk and defencemen Rasmus Bengtsson and Hampus Lindholm, have all been released from their respective clubs to join Team Sweden. Rask is the lone WHL player representing Sweden.
FLYING FUR: Sunday, Dec. 2 marked the 18th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss. Over the past ten seasons, Calgary holds a 7-3-0-0 record in their annual teddy bear collection games. In 2007-08, the Hitmen set a world record for number of bears collected at 26,919. This year, over 21,000 stuffed toys were delivered to more than 50 local agencies including the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Boys and Girls Club of Calgary, YWCA, Red Cross, Salvation Army and Calgary Food Bank. Since 1999, the Hitmen have donated over 213,000 teddy bears to the Calgary community.
STREAKIN’: Brooks Macek (1g, 4a), Greg Chase (4g), Alex Roach (1g, 2a), Pavlo Padakin (2g) and Zane Jones (2a) all have points in back-to-back games.
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 hosts the TELUS Shake up the ‘Dome game on Sat., Dec. 8 when they play the back half of a home-and-home series against the Edmonton Oil Kings, with a 7 p.m. puck drop. Fans are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for the Calgary Food Bank. Co-op has donated 10,000 boxes of macaroni in support of the cause and upon arrival, fans will receive a box of macaroni to use to “shake up the ‘Dome.” Donation boxes will also be present during Saturday’s game in an effort to raise additional funds for the Food Bank. The Hitmen remain at home on Tue., Dec. 11 when they face off against Kamloops.
Sat., Dec. 8 vs. Edmonton Oil Kings, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN
Tue., Dec. 11 vs. Kamloops Blazers, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN