HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (28-10-1-3) will look to extend their four-game winning streak as they play game two of a four game road trip tonight in Moose Jaw against the Warriors (14-21-3-4). Calgary opened the trip last night with a 7-2 win in Brandon. Seven different Hitmen scored for Calgary who has now outscored their opponents by a combined 28-9 in their last four games. The Hitmen set the tone early setting a franchise record for the fastest goal to start a game when Brooks Macek scored just nine seconds in. It broke the old mark of 12 seconds set by Brad Moran on January 22, 1999. Zane Jones extended his career high goal scoring streak to six games while Spencer Humphries, Pavlo Padakin, Brady Brassart and Carson Samoridny also found the back of the net for the visitors who built period leads of 3-1 and 4-2. Brassart finished the game with a team high three points (1g, 2a), while Macek and Chase had two points each (1g, 1a). At 60 points, Calgary leads the Eastern Conference standings by one point over the Edmonton Oil Kings.
VS. MOOSE JAW: Tonight is the fourth and final meeting between the Hitmen and Warriors, with Calgary leading the season series 3-0. Fifteen Hitmen each have at least a point in the series including overage forward Brooks Macek who leads the way with four (2g 2a). Last season, Calgary held a 2-1-1-0 record against Moose Jaw. Over the last five years, the Hitmen are 13-5-1-0 against the Warriors, including a 6-2-1-0 record in Moose Jaw.
Nov. 4/12 at M.J: Hitmen 2 Warriors 1 (OT) ... B. Macek tallied a regulation marker, while J. Rissling scored the OT game winner.
Nov. 7/12 at CAL: Hitmen 2 Warriors 1 (SO) ... After a scoreless first period, Moose Jaw’s C. Hansen scored in the second, while Calgary’s B. Hurley added late third period marker. G. Chase netted the SO winner.
Jan. 4/13 at CAL: Hitmen 6 Warriors 1 ... B. Macek (1g, 2a) and C. Harmsworth (3a) both had three points each.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 74 M.J 82
Power Plays: CAL 2-11 (18.2%) M.J 0-12 (0%)
ROAD DOMINANCE: Calgary is 14-2-0-1 away from Scotiabank Saddledome. The Hitmen will play 14 of their next 16 games on the road.
TRADE WINDS: On Monday the Hitmen acquired 19-year-old defenceman Jesse Zgraggen from the Victoria Royals in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. Zgraggen, a native of Lethbridge, Alberta, has tallied seven points (one goal, six assists) along with 34 penalty minutes over 33 games with the Royals this campaign. Currently in his third WHL season, the 6-1, 213-pound defenceman has recorded four goals and 18 assists for 22 points in 157 career games played with Victoria and the Chilliwack Bruins.
WORLD JUNIORS: Swedish import Victor Rask captured a silver medal at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia, as Team Sweden fell 3-1 to Team USA. Rask recorded two goals and two assists for four points along with 16 shots on goal over six games played at the tournament. The Carolina Hurricanes prospect is expected to return to the Hitmen lineup on Friday, Jan. 18.
U-17 RECAP: Jake Virtanen and Josh Thrower have returned from the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Victoriaville/Drummondville, Quebec, where they suited up for Team Pacific. Virtanen recorded seven points (5g, 2a) over five games played, while Thrower had one goal and one assist over the same span. Team Pacific finished the 2013 tournament in fifth.
WHL AWARD: Calgary Hitmen forward Cody Sylvester is the Denny’s WHL Player of the Week. Sylvester collected eight points, scoring two goals and six assists to go with a plus-5 rating, in four games over the past week. It’s the first time this season a Hitmen player has earned the award.
STREAKIN’: Zane Jones has the longest active goal scoring streak in the WHL at six games (6g, 4a). Cody Sylvester (2g, 8a) is on a six game point streak. Pavlo Padakin has goals in four straight and points in five straight (5g, 1a). Brady Brassart (4g, 7a), Alex Roach (1g, 6a) and Spencer Humphries (1g, 5a) are all on a four game point streaks. Peter Kosterman (3a) has points in three straight games. Greg Chase (2g, 1a) and Chase Clayton (3a) both have points in back-to-back games. Chris Driedger has won his last four starts stopping 97-of-103 shots.
SPECIAL TEAMS: After a 3-43 drought, the Hitmen powerplay has come to life going a combined 9-17 (52.9%) in its last four games. The penalty kill has also been solid of late killing 30 of its last 33 (90.9%) with two of the three goals allowed scored when the Hitmen were down 5-on-3.
DID YOU KNOW?: Calgary has scored a combined 28 goals in their last four games. They have now scored the second most goals scored in the Eastern Conference at 147, an average of 3.5 per games. The Hitmen have given up the second fewest goals in the conference at 108, an average of 2.6 per game.
MILESTONE WATCH: Chris Driedger is two games shy of his 100th career WHL contest, while Kenton Helgesen is two games away from hitting 100 games played. Brendan Hurley is two games away from his 200th career game, while Jaynen Rissling is five contests shy of his 200th.
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 continues their four-game road trip Friday in Regina before heading to Swift Current Saturday. The Hitmen then return to Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday, Jan. 18 to face the Prince George Cougars. Tickets for upcoming Hitmen games are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.