January 27, 2013
Rookie netminder Mack Shields records his second career WHL shutout in a 5-0 victory over Brandon
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As his counterpart was peppered with shots throughout the entire game, Calgary Hitmen goaltender Mack Shields could only sit back and watch.
Shields only faced three shots through 20 minutes, and saw two more in the second period. Eleven more came his direction in the third, but he turned them all away to record his second career shutout in a 5-0 Hitmen victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings in a Sunday afternoon affair in front of 14,656 screaming fans.
“That was one of those difficult games where you don’t see a lot of shots because it’s hard to keep your head into it,” Shields said about his seventh win of the season. “The guys in front of me really helped me out and made sure I stayed focused out there.
“It was a pretty entertaining game to watch. The guys put on a good show in front of me so I was trying to keep in the game and they kept it pretty easy.”
That’s compared to the 48 shots the Hitmen directed at Wheat Kings netminder Curtis Honey, who played well enough to earn third star despite allowing the five markers.
“He had a lot of hard shots, a lot of breakaways, so I would rather take my load tonight,” Shields added.
Head coach Mike Williamson was impressed with how his team responded after back-to-back losses, taking advantage of a tired Wheat Kings playing their third game in three nights.
“For the most part this year, our team has responded pretty well after losses,” he said. “We cleaned a few things up and jumped on a team that was a bit tired. The guys had a killer instinct from start to finish.”
The Hitmen threw everything and the kitchen sink at Honey in the first period, but he stopped all 19 shots.
After the 12-minute mark of the second, rookie Chase Lang buried his fourth of the year after putting a nice breakaway move on Honey before sliding it in for a shorthanded marker.
Jake Virtanen followed that up with a goal of his own five minutes later, when he took the pass Greg Chase and sniped it top corner from the slot.
Zane Jones added to the lead on the powerplay in the third, grabbing the rebound up close and chipping it past Honey.
Brassart continued the rout when he tapped in his 19th of the year after a nice setup pass from Cody Sylvester.
And Brooks Macek ended the scoring with a slapper from the top of the circle that squeaked through Honey’s five-hole.
In total, Virtanen (1g,1a) Brassart (1g,1a), Sylvester (2a), and Jaynen Rissling (2a) all had two-point nights.
Hitmen scored on one of four opportunities with the man-advantage, while Brandon failed on six powerplay chances.
The win moves Calgary to 32-13-1-3 on the season, and maintains their third overall spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Hitmen now head on the road for a four-game swing through the Eastern Conference, starting on Tuesday with a date with the Medicine Hat Tigers. The last time the two teams met, Calgary was shutout 4-0 in the loss. Game time is 7 p.m. and fans can listen live on Sportsnet 960 The FAN.