Shorthanded, finishing off a nine-game road trip, and playing their back end of the two games in two nights, the Calgary Hitmen ran out of time on a comeback, losing 4-3 to the Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday night to end a four-game winning streak.
Down two late in the third, forward Victor Rask cut the deficit in half, sniping home his 11th from the left circle with just over two minutes remaining. Head coach Mike Williamson pulled Chris Driedger for the extra attacker, but that was as close as the Hitmen would make it.
Despite the loss, the Hitmen finished their season-high nine-game road trip above .500 with a record of 5-4. They remain in third place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 37-17-1-3.
Early in the first period, fisticuffs were thrown between Hitmen defenceman Jaynen Rissling and Chiefs forward Adam Smith, and both players were thrown out of the game. Coupled with an injury to Alex Roach later on in the contest and the Hitmen were forced to use Cody Sylvester as a defenceman.
A few minutes after the fight, Brady Brassart took advantage of Chiefs goalie Eric Williams being knocked out of the net and slid home his 23rd of the season.
Less than two minutes into the second period, Sylvester chipped in a rebound from Kenton Helgensen to double the Hitmen lead.
However, three straight Chiefs goals in the second period courtesy of Dylan Walchuk, Brendan Kichton and Carter Proft and Spokane had come right back.
Todd Fiddler added to it partway through the third with his 37th of the season, and it was enough for the Chiefs to hold onto the victory.
Both teams were one for four on the man advantage.
With his second start in two nights, Driedger played well, stopping 32 of 36 shots.
Williams turned away 30 in the victory.
After almost three weeks on the road, the Calgary Hitmen will soon be back in the friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome. Saturday night, they take on the Victoria Royals. Game time is 7 p.m.