PREVIEW: CALGARY AT SWIFT CURRENTJan 12, 2013 - 04:10 MST
Written By: Curle, Brad
HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (30-10-1-3) will look to extend their season high six-game winning streak as they wrap up a four game road trip tonight in Swift Current against the Broncos (20-20-3-2). Calgary is 3-0 on the trip posting a 7-2 win in Brandon on Monday, a 6-4 triumph in Moose Jaw on Wednesday and a 6-1 win in Regina last night. Brady Brassart and Jake Virtanen both scored twice against the Pats while Brooks Macek and Brendan Hurley added singles. Chris Driedger made 32 saves to pick up the win. At 64 points, Calgary tops the Eastern Conference standings by three points over Edmonton but the Oil Kings have two games in hand.
VS. SWIFT CURRENT: Tonight is the second of four meetings. Calgary leads the season series 1-0 after winning all four games in the 2011/12 campaign.
Nov. 18/12 at CAL: Hitmen 4 Broncos 2 ... P. Padakin scored twice while Peter Kosterman broke a 2-2 third period tie with 7:17 remaining.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 32 SC 23
Power Plays: CAL 0-2 (0%) SC 1-3 (33.3%)
Next Meeting: Wed., Jan. 30 at Swift Current, 6 p.m. MT
ROAD DOMINANCE: Calgary is 16-2-0-1 away from Scotiabank Saddledome. Counting tonight, the Hitmen play 12 of their next 14 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 six game winning streak they’ve outscored their opponents by a combined 40-14 while outshooting them 202-165. The top line of Brady Brassart, Cody Sylvester and Brooks Macek has combined for 38 points (17g 21a).
TURNING ON THE RED LIGHT: Calgary has scored an Eastern Conference leading 159 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 (23) have over 20.
QUICK STRIKE OFFENSE: Three times on this road trip the Hitmen have scored in the opening seconds of a period, all authored by Brooks Macek. Nine seconds into Tuesday’s game in Brandon Macek opened the scoring, six seconds into the second period Macek scored in Moose then 13 seconds into the game last night in Regina he struck again.
TRADE WINDS: Thursday 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. He had an assist last night in Regina in his Hitmen debut. 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. Three games with Calgary Zgraggen has four points (1g 3a) and is +7.
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 12a) is on a career high eight game point streak. His previous best was six games in November of 2011. Brady Brassart (8g 9a) and Alex Roach (2g 9a) both have points in six straight. Spencer Humphries (1g 6a) is on a five game point streak. Brooks Macek (3g 3a), Jesse Zgraggen (1g 3a) and Brendan Hurley (1g 2a) all have points in three consecutive games. Chris Driedger has won his last five starts stopping 129 of 136 shots. Pavlo Padakin had his career high six game point streak (5g 2a) snapped last night in Regina while Zane Jones saw his career high six game goal scoring streak (6g 4a) come to an end Wednesday in Moose Jaw.
MILESTONE WATCH: Brendan Hurley played his 200th career regular season game last night while Kenton Helgesen hit the 100 mark. Jaynen Rissling is three 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).
LIGHT SCHEDULE: Following tonight in Swift Current the Hitmen will play only three games in the next 14 days.
UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen return to Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday, Jan. 18 to face the Prince George Cougars. One night later Calgary visits Medicine Hat. Tickets for upcoming Hitmen games are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.