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PREVIEW: HITMEN AT ICE

Feb 23, 2013 - 14:31 GMT
Written By: French, Joanna

HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (40-17-1-3) will look to extend their three-game winning streak tonight when they visit the Kootenay Ice (29-29-2-0). Following a season-high nine-game road swing, the Hitmen have recorded three home ice victories beginning last Saturday with a 3-1 decision over Victoria. On Sunday, Feb. 17, Calgary defeated the Regina Pats 5-2 and last night the Hitmen recorded 6-5 shootout win against Prince Albert. Brooks Macek (5a) led the Hitmen with five points during the three-game homestand, while Victor Rask (4a), Brady Brassart (3g, 1a) and Zane Jones (2g, 2a) each recorded four points over the same span. Calgary remains third in the Eastern Conference, seven points behind the conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings and 12 points ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Red Deer Rebels.

VS. KOOTENAY: Tonight is the sixth of eight meetings between the Hitmen and Ice, with Calgary leading the season series 3-2. Brooks Macek tops the Hitmen with two goals and five assists against Kootenay, while Cody Sylvester (2g, 4a) has six points in the series. Brock Montgomery (6g) leads the Ice with six points against Calgary, followed by Levi Cable (1g, 3a), Joey Leach (4a) and Sam Reinhart (4a) with four points each versus the Hitmen. Over the last five seasons, Calgary is 17-19-1-0 against Kootenay, including a 6-11-1-0 road record.

SERIES RECAP
Sept. 22/12 at CAL: Hitmen 5 Ice 1 ... Zane Jones scored twice for Calgary, while Darian Henry, Cody Sylvester and Brooks Macek all had a goal and an assist in the win.
Nov. 12/12 at CAL: Ice 4 Hitmen 0 ... B. Montgomery recorded a hat trick for the Ice, while M. Skapski made 17 saves in the win.
Dec. 2/12 at CAL: Hitmen 4 Ice 1 ... Greg Chase (2g), Alex Roach (1g, 1a), Brooks Macek (2a) and Brady Brassart (2a) each posted two-point efforts for Calgary.
Dec. 4/12 at KTN: Hitmen 6 Ice 1 ... Greg Chase scored a pair of goals for the second straight game, while Brooks Macek (1g, 2a) and Victor Rask (1g, 2a) both recorded three points each in the win.
Dec. 31/12 at KTN: Ice 3 Hitmen 2 ... Brock Montgomery netted a pair of goals for Kootenay


INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 150 KTN 146
Power Plays: CAL 3-18 (16.7%) KTN 3-43 (6.9%)
Next Meeting: Fri., Mar. 15 at KTN, 7PM

HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:
Goals (33) Cody Sylvester
Assists (43) Brooks Macek
Points (71) Cody Sylvester, Brooks Macek
PIM (120) Jaynen Rissling
Power Play Goals (13) Cody Sylvester
Plus/Minus (+39) Alex Roach
Wins (30) Chris Driedger

IN THE BOOKS: With Friday night’s 6-5 shootout victory, the Hitmen have clinched a playoff berth for the 15th time in 18 seasons. After missing playoffs during the first two seasons of the franchise, Calgary advanced to the post-season for 13 consecutive years (1998-2010).

DID YOU KNOW?: Cody Sylvester (33g, 38a) and Brooks Macek (28g, 43a) are tied for the team lead in scoring at 71 points. 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 2007-08, both Ryan White and Kyle Bortis finished the campaign with 72 points. During the 2005-06 season, Ryan White and Brodie Dupont each finished with 53 points, while Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd both recorded 75 points in 2003-04.

HOME AND AWAY: The Hitmen are 21-9-0-1 when playing in opposition barns. Following tonight’s contest, Calgary will play four more games on the road. Kootenay, who is 18-12-1-0 at home, enters tonight’s game with 11 consecutive wins at Western Financial Place. The last time the Ice lost at home was on Dec. 28, 2012 when the Spokane Chiefs blanked Kootenay 1-0.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Forwards Brady Brassart and Cody Sylvester were named co-winners of the Ed Williams Player of the Month for January. Brassart recorded 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points over 13 games last month, while Sylvester, who is playing in his fifth WHL season, also tallied 21 points (5g, 16a) over the same span.

STREAKIN’: Brooks Macek (3g, 9a) and Brady Brassart (5g, 2a) both have points in six consecutive games, while Zane Jones (2g, 2a) has four points in his last three contests. Colten Mayor (2g) and Pavlo Padakin (2g) both have goals in back-to-back games. Victor Rask (5g, 6a) had his six-game point streak snapped during Friday’s 6-5 shootout win.

WHL LEADERBOARD: Brady Brassart leads the league in game-winning goals at nine, followed by Justin Feser who has scored eight game-winning tallies for Tri-City. The single season franchise record for most game-winning goals is held by Pavel Brendl, who scored 14 game-winning markers in 1999-00.

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 will now play their next two games at the ’Dome, hosting the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday, Feb. 27 and Swift Current Broncos on Friday, Mar. 1. Puck drops at 7 p.m. for both home ice contests. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations and the Scotiabank Saddledome box office, online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.

Wed., Feb. 27 vs. Saskatoon, 7 p.m., SN960 (960 AM)
Fri., Mar. 1 vs. Swift Current, 7 p.m., SHAW, SN960 (960 AM)