PREVIEW: HITMEN AT BRONCOS

Jan 30, 2013 - 05:42 MST
Written By: Forbes, Bryce

HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (33-13-1-3) play game two of a season high nine-game road trip tonight in Swift Current against the Broncos (24-21-3-2).  The Hitmen are riding a two-game winning streak and are coming off last night’s 3-2 victory in Medicine Hat.  After Hunter Shinkaruk scored a pair of goals to stake the Tigers to a 2-0 second period lead, the Hitmen rallied with three unanswered goals of their own.  Pavlo Padakin scored the game winner just under five minutes into the third period.  Victor Rask and Cody Sylvester also scored for Calgary who outshot Medicine Hat 48-26.  The Hitmen went 0-1 on the power play while the Tigers were 1-5.  Calgary is third in the Eastern Conference, five points back of the front running Edmonton Oil Kings but with one game in hand. 

VS. SWIFT CURRENT: Tonight is the third of four meetings with the season series tied 1-1.  Jake Virtanen leads all Hitmen with three points (1g, 2a) against the Broncos while Graham Black tops Swift Current with three points (3g) against Calgary.  Over the last five seasons, the Hitmen are 14-4 against the Broncos including a 7-2 record in Swift Current.

SERIES RECAP

Nov. 18/12 at CAL:     Hitmen 4 Broncos 2   Pavlo Padakin scored twice while Peter Kosterman broke a 2-2 third period tie with 7:17 to go.

Jan. 12/13 at SC:       Broncos 4 Hitmen 3.  Colby Cave broke a 3-3 third period tie with 10:13 remaining. 

INSIDE THE SERIES

Shots on Goal: CAL 52 SC 58   
Power Plays: CAL 0-5 (0%) SC 2-7 (28.6%)  
Next Meeting: Friday, March 1 at Calgary 

HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:        

Goals (26) Cody Sylvester                                                          
Assists (34) Brooks Macek                                        
Points (58) Brooks Macek  
Power Play Goals (10) Cody Sylvester
PIM (91) Kenton Helgesen
Plus-Minus (+38) Alex Roach      
Wins (25) Chris Driedger                         

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. 

DID YOU KNOW?  Hitmen forward Pavlo Padakin is tied for third in goals by a rookie in the WHL with 15.  Two of those goals have come against Swift Current….Nine different Hitmen have scored 10 or more goals this season….Calgary has outshot their opponent in each of the last five games…The Hitmen have been shutout three times this season and have also blanked their opposition three times….Colten Mayor has three points (3a) in seven game since joining the Hitmen on WHL Trade Deadline Day from Regina.  Jesse Zgraggen has five points (2g, 3a) in nine games since arriving in a deal from Victoria just prior to the deadline….Calder Brooks had an assist in Medicine Hat last night for his first point of the season in just his second game back following an injury at training camp…Brooks Macek, the top scoring Hitmen with 58 points, is tied for 18th in the WHL scoring race with Edmonton’s Michael St. Croix. 

ROAD WARRIORS: The Hitmen are among the top teams in the WHL when playing away from the Scotiabank Saddledome this season. In 23 road contests, Calgary has recorded 35 points (17-5-0-1), sitting five points behind Portland who leads the league with 40 road points.  Calgary is one of two teams that hold the WHL record for most road wins in a single season at 28 set in the 1999-00.  Saskatoon recorded 28 road victories in 2008-09.  Last night’s win in Medicine Hat snapped a three game road losing streak for Calgary. 

HOLDING LEADS: The Hitmen have a 26-0-1-1 record when leading after two periods. Only Edmonton, Portland, Kelowna have more wins when leading after 40 minutes at 32. 

CAREER YEARS: Alex Roach is having the best season of his WHL career. The 19-year-old blueliner has put up a career-high 37 points, setting career highs in goals (11) and assists (26) over 48 games played.  Roach is tied for second in the league among defencemen with a plus-minus rating of plus-38 and fifth among the league’s rearguards in scoring.  Brooks Macek has a team-leading 58 points and 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 47 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 294 games with the Hitmen and has 82 goals, 113 assists for 195 points. The Vernon, British Columbia product is now tied for sixth all-time with Michael Bubnick in games played, tied for 12th in goals with Owen Fussey, is 10th in assists and 11th in points. 

STREAKIN’: Cody Sylvester (3g, 3a), Victor Rask (2g,1a), Brooks Macek (1g, 2a), Greg Chase (1g, 2a) and Zane Jones (1g, 2a) are all on three-game point scoring streaks.  Peter Kosterman had his run of assists (3a) in three straight games come to an end in Medicine Hat last night while Jake Virtanen (1g 2a) was held off the sheet after points in back-to-back games.  Mack Shields is 2-0 in his last two starts stopping 40 of 42 shots for a .952 save percentage. 

MILESTONE WATCH: Brooks Macek is two games away from reaching 300 career games played.  By setting up three more goals, Brady Brassart will reach 100 career assists.  Cody Sylvester needs five 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: Tomorrow is a travel day for the Hitmen who are in Saskatoon Friday before visiting Prince Albert on Saturday.  Calgary will then open a five game U-S Division swing starting one week from tonight in Portland.  The next Hitmen home game is not until Saturday, February 16 when they host the Victoria Royals.