PREVIEW: CALGARY AT REGINA

Jan 11, 2013 - 00:37 MST
Written By: Curle, Brad

HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (29-10-1-3) will look to extend their five-game winning streak as they play game three of a four-game road trip tonight in Regina against the Pats (18-22-2-2). Calgary is 2-0 on the trip posting a 7-2 win in Brandon on Monday and a 6-4 triumph in Moose Jaw on Wednesday. Brady Brassart led the Hitmen against the Warriors with four points (2g, 2a) and was plus-five. At 62 points, Calgary tops the Eastern Conference standings by three points over Edmonton but the Oil Kings have two games in hand.

VS. REGINA: Tonight is the third of four meetings. Calgary leads the season series having outscored the Pats by a combined 6-1. Cody Sylvester tops the Hitmen with five points (1g, 4a) while Brooks Macek has three (2g, 1a). Over the last five seasons, Calgary is 14-2-0-2 against the Pats, including an 8-0-0-1 record in Regina.

SERIES RECAP
Nov. 2/12 at REG: Hitmen 4 Pats 1 ... B. Macek (2g, 1a) and C. Sylvester (3a) each registered three points in the road win.
Dec. 15/12 at CAL: Hitmen 2 Pats 0 ... M. Shields made 18 saves for his first career WHL shutout.

INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 62 REG 49
Power Plays: CAL 1-5 (20%) REG 0-14 (0%)
Next Meeting: Sunday, Feb. 17 at Calgary, 4 p.m.

ROAD DOMINANCE: Calgary is 15-2-0-1 away from Scotiabank Saddledome. Counting tonight, the Hitmen play 13 of their next 15 games on the road including a season high nine game road trip from January 29th to February 13th.

INSIDE THE STREAK: During Calgary’s current five-game winning streak they’ve outscored their opponents by a combined 34-13 while outshooting them 170-132. It ties the longest winning streak of the season as the Hitmen also had a five game run in early November.

TURNING ON THE RED LIGHT: Calgary has scored an Eastern Conference leading 153 goals, an average of 3.6 per game. Eight different Hitmen have scored at least 10 goals this season while both Cody Sylvester (23) and Brooks Macek (22) have over 20.

TRADE WINDS: Yesterday the Hitmen made one deal on WHL Trade Deadline Day picking up 19-year-old left winger Colten Mayor from the Regina Pats in return for 18-year-old right winger Carson Samoridny and a fourth round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. Mayor, from St. Albert, Alberta, had 22 points (12g ,10a) in 44 games this season with Regina and Red Deer. 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, tallied seven points (1g, 6a) along with 34 penalty minutes in 33 games with the Royals this campaign. Two games into his time in Calgary, Zgraggen has three points (1g, 2a) and is plus-four.

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 +5 rating, in four games over the past week. It’s the first time this season a Hitmen player has earned the award.

STREAKIN’: Cody Sylvester (3g, 10a) is on a career high seven game point streak. His previous best was six games in November of 2011. Rookie Pavlo Padakin is on a career his six game point streak (5g, 2a). Brady Brassart (6g, 9a) and Alex Roach (2g, 7a) both have points in five straight. Spencer Humphries (1g, 5a) is on a four game point streak. Brooks Macek (2g, 3a), Jesse Zgraggen (1g, 2a) and Brendan Hurley (2a) all have points in back-to-back games. Chris Driedger has won his last four starts stopping 97-of-103 shots. Zane Jones had his career high six game goal scoring streak (6g, 4a) come to an end Wednesday in Moose Jaw.

MILESTONE WATCH: Chris Driedger is one game shy of his 100th career WHL contest, while Kenton Helgesen is one game away from hitting 100 games played. Brendan Hurley is one game away from his 200th career game, while Jaynen Rissling is four 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).

PROSPECT WATCH: Hitmen 2012 second round pick Terrell Draude is playing AAA Midget with the Saskatoon Contacts. The 15-year-old has 16 points (10g, 6a) in 23 games.

UPCOMING GAMES: Calgary wraps up their four game road trip tomorrow in Swift Current. 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.

Sat., Jan. 12 at Swift Current Broncos, 6 p.m. MT, SN960 The FAN
Fri., Jan. 18 vs. Prince George Cougars, 7 p.m. MT, SN960 The FAN