HITMEN HEADLINES: The Eastern Conference-leading Calgary Hitmen (16-5-1-2) host the Medicine Hat Tigers (11-14-1-0) tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome. After a second consecutive 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Hitmen have now won eight of their last nine games, including three straight. Rookie Jake Virtanen netted the game-winning goal with 27 seconds remaining in the third period during Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the ‘Canes, while Jaynen Rissling and Alex Roach also scored for Calgary. After defeating the Hitmen 10-1 last month, the Tigers enter this evening’s contest on a five-game losing streak with three wins in their last nine games.
VS. MEDICINE HAT: Tonight is the second of six meetings between the Hitmen and Tigers. Medicine Hat leads the season series 1-0 following a 10-1 road win. Cody Sylvester (1g), Alex Roach (1a) and Greg Chase (1a) each have one point in the series for Calgary. Curtis Valk (4g, 1a) and Hunter Shinkaruk (1g, 4a) lead Medicine Hat in scoring against the Hitmen with five points each. During the 2011-12 campaign, Medicine Hat took four of six games in the series against Calgary. Over the last five seasons, the Hitmen are 14-10-0-1 against the Tigers, including 7-5-0-1 at home.
Oct.26/12 at Cal: Tigers 10 Hitmen 1 … Curtis Valk (4g, 1a) and Hunter Shinkaruk (1g, 4a) each posted a five-point performance for the visiting Tigers, while Cody Sylester netted Calgary’s lone marker.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: Cal 25 M.H 33
Power Plays: Cal 0-5 (0%) M.H 4-11 (36.3%)
Next Meeting: Saturday, Jan. 19 at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:
Goals (14) Cody Sylvester
Assists (16) Brooks Macek
Points (27) Brooks Macek
Power Play Goals (8) Cody Sylvester
Plus-Minus (+17) Alex Roach
PIM (69) Darian Henry
Wins (13) Chris Driedger
WHL TOP 10: Cody Sylvester is tied for the league-lead in power play goals at eight. Brady Brassart’s three game-winning goals place him in a tie for seventh in the WHL. Darian Henry is second in the league with 69 penalty minutes, while Chris Driedger sits second among WHL netminders with a 2.31 goals-against average and 0.921 save percentage.
STREAKIN’: Alex Roach (2g, 1a) and Jaynen Rissling (1g, 2a) each have three points in back-to-back games. In his last seven starts, Chris Driedger is 7-0-0-0 with a 1.69 goals-against average and 0.940 save percentage.
GETTING NOTICED: Forward Greg Chase and goaltender Mack Shields have both been recognized by NHL Central Scouting in the CSS preliminary rankings for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Chase is ranked 17th among North American skaters in the WHL, while Shields is fifth among the league’s North American goalies. Chase is tied for fourth in team scoring with 17 points (3g, 14a) over 23 games. This month Shields has posted a 1.97 goals-against average and 0.929 save percentage with a 1-1 record.
TRADE WINDS: On Friday, the Hitmen acquired a fifth round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft from the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for centre Joey Kornelsen. The Abbotsford, British Columbia product recorded 25 points, including nine goals, along with 46 penalty minutes over 69 games with Calgary. The Hitmen acquired the 19-year-old forward in a four-player deal with the Moose Jaw Warriors in October 2011. With the return of Swedish forward Victor Rask, Calgary’s 25-player roster now includes 15 forwards, eight defencemen and two goaltenders.
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.
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).
MO BROS: The Calgary Hitmen together with Canada Safeway Ltd. and Prostate Cancer Canada are proud to support Movember, a month to fight prostate cancer, for the fourth season. During the month of November, Hitmen players and staff are growing moustaches to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer Canada. To support your favorite Hitmen team member, visit mobro.co/hitmenmovemberteam. The Calgary Hitmen Movember team has raised $45,950 for Prostate Cancer Canada since the launch of the inaugural campaign in November 2009.
POST-GAME AUTOGRAPHS: Meet rookie Colby Harmsworth at the Booster Club table located by section 212 after the game.
UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen will wrap up November at the Scotiabank Saddledome, hosting the Saskatoon Blades on Friday, Nov. 30 (7 p.m., SN 960). The 18th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss is set for Sunday, Dec. 2 against the Kootenay Ice. Puck drop is 2 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations and the Scotiabank Saddledome box office. Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.
Fri., Nov. 30 vs. Saskatoon Blades, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN
Sun., Dec. 2 vs. Kootenay Ice, 2 p.m., SN 960 The FAN