PREVIEW: CALGARY VS. LETHBRIDGE

Nov 21, 2012 - 06:22 MST
Written By: French, Joanna

HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (15-5-1-2) wrap up a home-and-home series tonight when the Lethbridge Hurricanes (13-11-1-1) visit the Scotiabank Saddledome.  Despite being heavily outshot 44-20, Calgary earned a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes last night at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge.  Greg Chase, Alex Roach and Carson Samoridny each scored for the Hitmen, while Chris Driedger made a season-high 42 saves, improving to 6-0 over his last six games.  The win marked Calgary’s seventh victory in their last eight contests.  At 33 points, the Hitmen now sit atop the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Edmonton Oil Kings.
 
VS. LETHBRIDGE: Tonight is the second of six games between the Hitmen and Hurricanes. Calgary leads the season series 1-0 following last night’s 3-2 road win. Eight different Hitmen have one point in the series including Victor Rask (1a), one of Calgary’s top scorers against Lethbridge last season.  In 2011-12, Rask recorded nine points (5g, 4a) against the Hurricanes.  Jay Merkley (1g), Ryan Pilon (1g), Macoy Erkamps (1a) and Russell Maxwell (1a) lead Lethbridge in scoring against the Hitmen with one point each.  During the 2011-12 campaign, the Hitmen held a 3-2-1-0 record against the Hurricanes.  Over the last five seasons, Calgary is 16-7-2-0 against Lethbridge, including an 8-4-0-0 home record.  

SERIES RECAP
Nov.20/12 at Let:Hitmen 3 Hurricanes 2 ... Chris Driedger made a season-high 42 saves in the Hitmen net.

INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: Cal 20  Let 44     
Power Plays: Cal 0-3 (0%)  Let 1-8 (12.5%)
Next Meeting: Friday, Dec. 28 at Calgary, 7 p.m.

HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:     
Goals (14) Cody Sylvester                      
Assists (16) Brooks Macek               
Points (27) Brooks Macek               
Power Play Goals (8) Cody Sylvester
PIM (69) Darian Henry
Plus-Minus (+17) Alex Roach
Wins (12) Chris Driedger

HOME-AND-HOMES: Tonight Calgary wraps up the first of back-to-back games against Lethbridge, marking the third home-and-home series the Hitmen have played this year. Last season, Calgary only played two home-and-home sets, winning all four contests against Swift Current and Kootenay.  The Hitmen have won all five of their games involved in home-and-homes this season and will play four more sets with the next home-and-home series on Dec. 2-4 against the Kootenay Ice.

GETTING NOTICED:  Forward Greg Chase and goaltender Mack Shields have both been recognized by NHL Central Scouting in the CSS preliminary rankings for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.  Chase is ranked 17th among North American skaters in the WHL, while Shields is fifth among the league’s North American goalies.  Chase sits fourth in team scoring with 17 points (3g, 14a) over 22 games.  This month Shields has posted a 1.97 goals-against average and 0.929 save percentage with a 1-1 record.

IN THE BOOKS: Defenceman Peter Kosterman played his 200th career WHL game last night in Calgary’s 3-2 road win over the Hurricanes.  Since making his Western Hockey League debut on Sept. 19, 2008, the 19-year-old blueliner has tallied 23 points, including five goals, over 200 games with Calgary.

TRADE WINDS:  On Friday, the Hitmen acquired a fifth round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft from the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for centre Joey Kornelsen.  The Abbotsford, British Columbia product recorded 25 points, including nine goals, along with 46 penalty minutes over 69 games with Calgary.  The Hitmen acquired the 19-year-old forward in a four-player deal with the Moose Jaw Warriors in October 2011. With the return of Swedish forward Victor Rask, Calgary’s 25-player roster now includes 15 forwards, eight defencemen and two goaltenders.

CAMPUS CHECK-IN: Kyle Bortis, a member of the Hitmen from 2007-09, returned to Calgary last weekend as his Saskatchewan Huskies battled the Calgary Dinos. Bortis, who tallied 156 points in two seasons with Calgary, recorded four points in the final contest of the two-game set against the Dinos to earn a weekend split. The Dinos, who are led offensively by former Hitmen Brock Nixon and Tyler Fiddler, play a home-and-home series on Nov.22-23 against the Mount Royal Cougars.

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).

MO BROS:  The Calgary Hitmen together with Canada Safeway Ltd. and Prostate Cancer Canada are proud to support Movember, a month to fight prostate cancer, for the fourth season.  During the month of November, Hitmen players and staff are growing moustaches to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer Canada. To support your favorite Hitmen team member, visit mobro.co/hitmenmovemberteam.  The Calgary Hitmen Movember team has raised $45,950 for Prostate Cancer Canada since the launch of the inaugural campaign in November 2009.  

UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen will remain at home for their next three contests, hosting the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday, Nov. 23 (7 p.m., SN 960) and the Saskatoon Blades on Nov. 30 (7 p.m., SN 960).  On Sunday, Dec. 2, the Kootenay Ice will visit the Scotiabank Saddledome for the third time this season.  Game time is 2 p.m. for the 18th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss.

Fri., Nov. 23 vs. Medicine Hat Tigers, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN     
Fri., Nov. 30 vs. Saskatoon Blades, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN