It’s the final night of action in the Western Hockey League before the Christmas break and what a way to end it in Calgary as the Hitmen host the Edmonton Oil Kings in a battle for top spot in the Eastern Conference. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Saddledome. Husky Hitmen Hockey on Sportsnet 960 The Fan starts at six with the Mr. Fireplace Warm-up.
THE STANDINGS: Calgary is 23-7-1-3 sitting first in the Eastern Conference with 50 points. However right behind them is Edmonton at 22-7-2-3, good for 49 points.
OF LATE: Calgary is without a regulation loss in their last four games (3-0-0-1) going 15-3-0-1 in their last 19. Edmonton is on a four game winning streak piling up a record of 13-3-0-1 in their last 17.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Tonight is the sixth and final regular season meeting. Calgary leads the series 4-1 having outscored Edmonton by a combined 22-16. Two of those victories have come in extra time. Brooks Macek leads the Hitmen with nine points in five games (3g 6a) against Edmonton while T.J. Foster (6g 1a), Michael St. Croix (1g 6a) and Dylan Wruck (1g 6a) all have seven points against Calgary to lead the Oil Kings.
-Edmonton 4 @ Calgary 2 (Dec 8 2012)
-Calgary 5 @ Edmonton 2 (Dec 7 2012)
-Calgary 5 @ Edmonton 4 in a shootout (Oct 12 2012)
-Edmonton 5 @ Calgary 6 in overtime (Oct 7 2012)
-Calgary 4 @ Edmonton 1 (Sep 28 2012)
WORLD JUNIOR IMPACT: Calgary will be without the services of Victor Rask tonight who is attending Sweden’s selection camp, while Edmonton is without Griffn Reinhart who’s a member of Team Canada.
HOLDING THE LEAD: Both teams are nearly impossible to beat when they take a lead to the third period. Calgary is 17-0-1-1 when leading after 40 minutes while Edmonton is 19-1-1-1.
STREAKIN’: Cody Sylvester (2g 3a) is on a three game point streak while Kenton Helgesen (2a) has points in back-to-back games.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Edmonton has the WHL’s best powerplay (29%) and penalty kill (92%). Calgary’s powerplay is just 2 for its last 28 (7.1%) while the penalty kill has killed 19 of its last 20 shorthanded situations (95%) including a pair of 5-on-3’s.
SIN BIN: Calgary has been shorthanded 173 times this season, tied with Kamloops for the most trips to the penalty box in the WHL. On average Calgary is a man down 5.1 times per game. Conversely they are tied with Edmonton for ninth in the league for the fewest powerplay chances this season at 138.
HOME AND AWAY: Calgary is 11-6-1-2 on home ice while Edmonton is 7-4-1-1 on the road.
Brooks Macek 15g 25a 40pts
Cody Sylvester 20g 13a 33pts
Brady Brassart 9g 23a 32pts
Michael St. Croix 19g 25a 44pts
Dylan Wruck 11g 32a 43pts
T.J. Foster 16g 22a 38pts
THE ROAD AHEAD: Following tonight’s game the Hitmen will enjoy a nine day Christmas Break before returning to action on December 28th at home against Lethbridge. It’s the start of a home-and-home series with the Hurricanes as the return match goes the following night in Lethbridge.