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PREVIEW: HITMEN AT BLADES

Jan 31, 2013 - 21:39 MST
Written By: Curle, Brad

HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (33-14-1-3) play game three of a season high nine-game road trip tonight in Saskatoon against the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup host Blades (25-21-0-3).  The Hitmen had their two game winning streak snapped Wednesday night in Swift Current falling 5-4 to the Broncos.  Ryon Moser scored the winner on a partial breakaway with 0.8 seconds remaining.  Alex Roach and Brady Brassart had a pair of goals for Calgary while Cody Sylvester chipped in a pair of assists.  The Hitmen outshot Swift Current 33-27.  Calgary went 0-2 on the powerplay while the Broncos were 1-2 capitalizing on a two-man advantage.  Calgary is third in the Eastern Conference, seven points back of the front running Edmonton Oil Kings but with one game in hand.

VS. SASKATOON: Tonight is the second of four meetings with the Blades leading the season series 1-0.  Over the last five seasons Calgary is 6-11 against Saskatoon including a 3-5 record at Credit Union Centre.

SERIES RECAP

Nov. 30/12 at CAL:  Blades 4 Hitmen 0.  Andrey Makarov made 25 saves for the shutout while Matt Revel (2g 1a) and Matej Stransky (3a) both had three points each.

INSIDE THE SERIES

Shots on Goal: CAL 25 SASK 38   
Power Plays: CAL 0-7 (0%) SASK 0-5 (0%)   
Next Meeting: Wednesday, February 27th in Calgary.

HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:               

Goals (26) Cody Sylvester                                                       
Assists (34) Brooks Macek                                
Points (58) Brooks Macek and Cody Sylvester     
Power Play Goals (10) Cody Sylvester  
PIM (96) Kenton Helgesen
Plus-Minus (+39) Alex Roach              
Wins (25) Chris Driedger

300 CLUB:  Brooks Macek will play his 300th regular season game in the Western Hockey League tonight in Saskatoon.  The 20-year-old from Winnipeg, Manitoba is in his fifth season.  After playing his first 170 games with the Tri-City Americans Macek arrived in Calgary at the January 2010 Trade Deadline.  The right winger has 80 goals 154 assists for 234 points in 299 career games.

DID YOU KNOW?  The Hitmen have scored the second most goals in the Eastern Conference at 183, an average of 3.6 per game….Calgary is #9 in the CHL Top 10 rankings this week….Hitmen forward Pavlo Padakin is tied for fourth in goals by a rookie in the WHL with 15….Nine different Hitmen have scored 10 or more goals this season….Calgary has outshot their opponent in each of the last six games but is only 3-3 in that span…The Hitmen have been shutout three times this season and have also blanked their opposition three times….Colten Mayor has three points (3a) in eight game since joining the Hitmen on WHL Trade Deadline Day from Regina.  Jesse Zgraggen has six points (2g 4a) in 10 games since arriving in a deal from Victoria just prior to the deadline….Brooks Macek and Cody Sylvester are tied for the team lead in scoring with 58 points each.  This is the 18th season of Hitmen hockey and only on three previous occasions has there been a tie for top scorer at the end of the season.  In the 2007-08 campaign both Ryan White and Kyle Bortis finished with 72 points.  In the 2005-06 season Ryan White and Brodie Dupont finished with 53 points each while in the 2003-04 season Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd both had 75 points. 

BATTLE OF THE BROTHERS:  The Calgary roster includes 16-year-old Josh Thrower while his 19-year-old brother Dalton is a member of the Saskatoon Blades.

HOME AND AWAY:  Calgary is 17-6-0-1 on the road while Saskatoon is 10-11-0-2 at home.

CAREER YEARS: Alex Roach is having the best season of his WHL career. The 19-year-old blueliner has put up a career-high 39 points, setting career highs in goals (13) and assists (26) over 49 games played.  Roach is tied for second in the league among defencemen with a plus-minus rating of plus-38 and fourth among the league’s rearguards in scoring.  Brooks Macek has set a career-high in goals at 24, three more than his previous high of 21 set in 2009-10 with Tri-City. Cody Sylvester has 26 goals in 48 games this season, three more than his previous best of 23 set last year.

CLIMBING THE RANKS: Now in his fifth season with Calgary, Cody Sylvester is moving up the lists of all-time scorers in club history.  Sylvester has played 295 games with the Hitmen and has 82 goals, 115 assists for 197 points. The Vernon, British Columbia product is now sixth all-time in games played, tied for 12th in goals with Owen Fussey, is 10th in assists and points.

STREAKIN’: Cody Sylvester (3g 5a), Victor Rask (2g2a), Greg Chase (1g 3a) and Zane Jones (1g 3a) are all on four game point scoring streaks.  Calder Brooks (2a) has points in back-to-back games.  Brooks Macek (1g 2a) had his three game streak end Wednesday in Swift Current.  Mack Shields is 2-0 in his last two starts stopping 40 of 42 shots for a .952 save percentage.

ROSTER UPDATE: 19-year-old forward Brendan Hurley has returned home to pursue other opportunities for the remainder of the 2012-13 season.  Calgary’s 24-player roster now includes 14 forwards, eight defencemen and two goaltenders. 

PROSPECT WATCH:  Calgary’s first round pick in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft is playing in the Saskatchewan AAA Midget Hockey League with the Tisdale Trojans.  Fifteen year-old defenceman Brennan Riddle has six assists in 32 games. 

MILESTONE WATCH: By setting up three more goals, Brady Brassart will reach 100 career assists.  Cody Sylvester needs three more points to record his 200th career point.

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).

UPCOMING GAMES: Calgary plays their fourth game in five days tomorrow in Prince Albert.  The Hitmen will then open a five game U.S. Division swing starting Wednesday in Portland.  Next Hitmen home game is not until Saturday, February 16 when they host the Victoria Royals.