HITMEN HEADLINES: Tonight the Calgary Hitmen (39-17-1-3) wrap up a three-game homestand when they host the Prince Albert Raiders (33-22-2-3) for Tim Hortons Timbits Day at the ‘Dome. The Hitmen enter this evening’s contest following Sunday’s 5-2 home ice victory over the Regina Pats. Zane Jones netted a pair of goals for Calgary, while Brady Brassart, Pavlo Padakin, and Colten Mayor also scored in the win. Mayor’s single tally marked his first goal with Calgary since the Hitmen acquired the 19-year-old forward from the Pats at the WHL Trade Deadline. Swedish import Victor Rask chipped in three assists, while rookie netminder Mack Shields made 13 saves to record his 10th win of the season. Calgary remains third in the Eastern Conference, nine points behind the conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings and 11 points ahead of the fourth place Raiders.
VS. PRINCE ALBERT: Tonight is the third of four meeting between the two clubs. Prince Albert leads the season series 2-0-0-0, following a 2-0 home ice victory earlier this month during Calgary’s season-high nine-game road swing. When the Hitmen and Raiders met at the ‘Dome earlier this season, Greg Chase forced sudden death for Calgary scoring with 60 seconds remaining before Mark McNeill scored the shootout winner. Rookie Jake Virtanen scored his first goal of the season in the shootout loss, Elliott Peterson (2a) and Austin Calladine (1a) both recorded their first career WHL point assisting on Virtanen’s second period marker. Over the last five seasons, Calgary is 10-5-2-1 against Prince Albert, including a 6-2-0-1 record when playing at home.
Oct. 5/12 at CAL: Raiders 5 Hitmen 4 (SO) … Greg Chase forced sudden death for Calgary scoring with 60 seconds remaining.
Feb. 2/12 at PA: Raiders 2 Hitmen 0 … Luke Siemens made 40 saves for his 11th career shutout.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 64 PA 65
Power Plays: CAL 0-7 (0%) PA 3-14 (21.4%)
Next Meeting: Wed., Mar. 6 at Prince Albert, 6PM MT
HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:
Goals (33) Cody Sylvester
Assists (42) Brooks Macek
Points (70) Cody Sylvester
Power Play Goals (13) Cody Sylvester
PIM (118) Jaynen Rissling
Plus/Minus (+39) Alex Roach
Wins (29) Chris Driedger
EAST FEAST: Calgary has of a record of 13-5-0-1 against teams from the East Division, including a 3-1-0-0 mark during a previous road trip out east from Jan. 8-12 where the Hitmen outscored their opponents by a combined 22-11. Calgary will play four more games against East Division teams following today’s match-up.
HOME AND AWAY: The Hitmen, who are 18-8-1-2 when playing at home, extended their home-winning streak to seven games with Sunday’s 5-2 win over Regina. Of their 12 remaining regular season contests, Calgary will play five more games on the road. Prince Albert, who is 16-14-0-0 on the road, enters tonight’s game after defeating the Tigers 5-2 Wednesday evening at the Medicine Hat Arena.
MAGIC NUMBERS: With either a Hitmen win or a Lethbridge Hurricanes regulation loss, Calgary will clinch 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).
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’: Swedish import Victor Rask (5g, 6a) has 11 points in his last six contests, while Brooks Macek (2g, 8a) and Brady Brassart (4g, 2a) both have points in five consecutive games. Greg Chase (4a) has four points in three straight games and Zane Jones (2g, 1a) has three points in back-to-back contests. Cody Sylvester had his six-game point streak snapped on Sunday.
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).
POST-GAME AUTOGRAPHS: Meet forward Colten Mayor at the Booster Club table located by section 212 after the game.
UPCOMING GAMES: Calgary will now visit the Kootenay Ice tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 23, before returning to the ‘Dome to host the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Single game day tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations as well as the Scotiabank Saddledome box office. Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.
Sat., Feb. 23 at Kootenay Ice, 7 p.m., SN960 (Online Broadcast)
Wed., Feb. 27 vs. Saskatoon Blades, 7 p.m., SN960 (960 AM)