HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (21-7-1-3) open a three-game homestand tonight when they host the Regina Pats (12-18-2-2) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. On Wednesday, Calgary defeated Red Deer 2-1 at the Enmax Centrium, handing the Rebels their first regulation loss in 10 games. After a scoreless first and second period, the Rebels opened the scoring on Joel Hamilton’s third goal of the season just 42 seconds into the final frame. Brooks Macek and Victor Rask netted third period markers 26 seconds apart in the come-from-behind win. Chris Driedger, in a third star performance, made 35 saves in the Hitmen net, while Rask was named the game’s first star. The win moved Calgary into sole possession of top spot in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Edmonton Oil Kings.
VS. REGINA: Tonight is the second of four meetings between the Hitmen and Pats, with Calgary leading the season series following a 4-1 road victory last month. Carson Samoridny opened the scoring for Calgary who built a 1-0 first period lead. Spencer Humphries extended the lead to 2-0 in the second period, while Brooks Macek added a pair of empty net goals to put the game away for the Hitmen. Colten Mayor (1g) and Adam Brooks (1a) each have one point for the Pats in the series. Over the last five seasons, Calgary is 13-2-0-2 against Regina, including a 5-2-0-1 record when playing at the ‘Dome.
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.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 32 REG 31
Power Plays: CAL 1-1 (100%) REG 0-4 (0%)
Next Meeting: Fri., Jan. 11 at Regina, 6 p.m. MT
HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:
Goals (18) Cody Sylvester
Assists (24) Brooks Macek
Points (37) Brooks Macek
Power Play Goals (9) Cody Sylvester
Plus-Minus (+20) Brady Brassart
PIM (66) Kenton Helgesen
Wins (17) Chris Driedger
TRADE WINDS: On Wednesday, the Hitmen acquired a fifth round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft from the Regina Pats in exchange for defenceman Darian Henry. The Strathmore, Alberta product recorded five points (one goal, four assists) while amassing 77 penalty minutes over 30 games with the Hitmen this season. Calgary acquired the 18-year-old blueliner from the Everett Silvertips in July 2012 in exchange for forward Luke Gordon.
EAST FEAST: During the 2011-12 season, Calgary held a 17-5-1-1 record against teams from the East Division. The East Division was one of two divisions where Calgary had huge success against, the other being the B.C. Division where the Hitmen went 10-1-0-0 last campaign. This year, the Hitmen are 5-1-0-1 against the East Division.
CAREER YEARS: In 32 games this season, defenceman Alex Roach has already set career highs in goals (8), assists (16) and points (24). Last season, the Los Angeles Kings prospect registered 18 points (4g, 14a) over 61 games played.
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 PACIFIC: Rookies Jake Virtanen and Josh Thrower have been named to Team Pacific for the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Dec. 29, 2012 to Jan. 4, 2013 in Victoriaville/Drummondville, Quebec. Forward Greg Chase represented Team Pacific at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ontario one year ago.
STREAKIN’: Victor Rask, named to Team Sweden’s 25-player preliminary roster for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, has eight points (2g, 6a) in five consecutive games. Since returning from the AHL, the Carolina Hurricanes prospect has 12 points, including three goals, over 11 contests. Brady Brassart (1g, 8a) had his five-game point streak snapped in Wednesday’s 2-1 win.
MILESTONE WATCH: Brendan Hurley is nine games away from his 200th career WHL contest. Hurley, an October roster addition, has a career total of 30 points in 191 games played with Calgary, Medicine Hat and Kootenay, accumulating 15 goals and 15 assists while amassing 309 penalty minutes.
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 forward Jake Virtanen at the Booster Club table located by section 212 after the game.
UPCOMING GAMES: Calgary returns to action tomorrow, Sunday, Dec. 16, when they host the Kelowna Rockets. Puck drop is 4 p.m. for the Dodge Skate with the Hitmen game. Fans are encouraged to bring their skates and helmet to join the team post-game on Scotiabank Saddledome ice. The Hitmen will also face Edmonton on Tuesday, Dec. 18 (7 p.m., Scotiabank Saddledome) before going on a break over the Christmas holidays.
Sun., Dec. 16 vs. Kelowna Rockets, 4 p.m., SN 960 The FAN
Tue., Dec. 18 vs. Edmonton Oil Kings, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN