HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (20-7-1-2) host the Kamloops Blazers (24-7-1-2) tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome. On Saturday night, the Hitmen saw their three-game win streak come to an end following a 4-2 home ice setback to the Edmonton Oil Kings. Cody Sylvester, with his team-leading 18th goal, and Alex Roach, with points in four-straight, each scored late in the third for Calgary. Griffin Reinhart led the Oil Kings with one goal and two assists in the win. Chris Driedger made 30 saves in the Hitmen net as Calgary and Edmonton each picked up a win in the home-and-home set.
VS. KAMLOOPS: Tonight is the final meeting between the Hitmen and Blazers, with Kamloops leading the season series following a 5-2 win at the ‘Dome in October. Six Hitmen players have one point in the series including Brady Brassart (1g) and Cody Sylvester (1g), who each tallied power play markers in the October contest. JC Lipon tops the Blazers with two goals and two assists against Calgary, while Colin Smith (2g, 1a) follows with three points. Over the last five seasons, Calgary is 5-4-1-0 against Kamloops, including a 2-3-0-0 home record.
Oct. 14/12 at CAL: Blazers 5 Hitmen 2 … B. Brassart and C. Sylvester netted goals for Calgary, while B. Macek chipped in an assist, extending the overage forward’s point streak to nine games (Sept. 21 – Oct. 14/12)
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 15 KAM 31
Power Plays: CAL 2-4 (50%) KAM 5-10 (50%)
HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:
Goals (18) Cody Sylvester
Assists (23) Brooks Macek
Points (35) Brooks Macek
Power Play Goals (9) Cody Sylvester
Plus-Minus (+20) Brady Brassart
PIM (77) Darian Henry
Wins (16) Chris Driedger
SPECIAL TEAMS: When the two teams met in October, all seven of the game’s goals were scored with a man advantage. Brady Brassart and Cody Sylvester each netted power play goals for Calgary, while JC Lipon (2g), Colin Smith (2g) and Aspen Sterzer (1g) scored for the visitors in the Blazers’ 5-2 win.
B.C. BATTLES: Last season, Calgary went 10-1 against the B.C. Division with their only loss coming on Dec. 28, 2011 in Prince George. This year, the Hitmen are 3-3 against the B.C. Division with wins over Prince George (5-0), Vancouver (5-4) and Victoria (5-2).
BACK IN YYC: Calgary native Rob Trzonkowski laced up for the Hitmen from 2010-2012. Over his two-year career with Calgary, the gritty forward registered 16 points (4g, 12a) while amassing 200 penalty minutes over 111 games. In May, the Hitmen acquired a fourth round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft from the Blazers in exchange for Trzonkowski. Tonight Calgary will also face former centre Joe Kornelsen, who recorded 25 points, including nine goals, along with 46 penalty minutes over 69 games with Calgary. The Hitmen acquired Kornelsen in a four-player deal with the Moose Jaw Warriors in October 2011 and on November 16, 2012, Calgary traded the Abbotsford, B.C. product to Kamloops in exchange for a fifth round pick in 2013.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Goaltender Chris Driedger was named the club’s Ed Williams Player of the Month for November. Driedger, also named the VAUGHN WHL Goaltender of the Month, posted an 8-1-0-0 record through November with a 1.87 goals-against average and 0.935 save percentage. Last season, the 18-year-old Ottawa Senators prospect was named the Ed Williams Player of the Month for October and the VAUGHN WHL Goaltender of the Month for January.
TEAM SWEDEN: 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, who heads overseas on December 13, is the lone WHL player representing Sweden.
STREAKIN’: Alex Roach (2g, 3a) is riding a career-high four-game point streak, while Brady Brassart (7a) has seven points over the same span. Victor Rask (1g, 5a) and Cody Sylvester (2a, 2a) each have points in three straight games. Spencer Humphries has two assists over back-to-back contests.
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).
POST-GAME AUTOGRAPHS: Meet goaltender Mack Shields at the Booster Club table located by section 212 after the game.
UPCOMING GAMES: Calgary will head to Red Deer tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 12, before returning to the Scotiabank Saddledome for a three-game homestand that begins Saturday, Dec. 15 against the Regina Pats. The Hitmen will also face Kelowna (Dec.16) and Edmonton (Dec. 18) before going on an eight-day break over the Christmas holidays.
Wed., Dec. 12 at Red Deer Rebels, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN
Sat., Dec. 15 vs. Regina Pats, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN