Game Day: Hitmen visit Oil Kings


The Calgary Hitmen (20-26-7-2) hope to take advantage of a slumping Edmonton Oil Kings (18-33-3-1) team when they pay a visit this afternoon to Rogers Place.

Game time is 4 p.m.

While the Hitmen will be riding high following last night’s electrifying 3-2 shootout win over Swift Current, a hungry Oil Kings side will be looking to snap a dreadful 16-game losing skid.

Last night at the ‘Dome, Jake Kryski and rookie Tristen Nielsen buried goals in an eight-round shootout – the second longest in Hitmen franchise history – and Matteo Gennaro and Brady Reagan scored in regulation as Calgary snapped a three-game losing skid. Netminder Kyle Dumba made 21 saves and turned aside an additional seven of eight Broncos in the shootout.

Candice Ward/Photo

This will be the fourth of six meetings between these provincial rivals.

The Hitmen have gone 2-0-1 in the season series and, dating back to last season, have collected 13 of a possible 14 points in the Battle of Alberta.

Gennaro leads Calgary with four points (one goal, three assists) in the season series, while Colton Kehler (two goals) and Davis Koch (two assists) have paced the Oil Kings.

“We’re going to be ready,” said St. Albert native Gennaro, whose Hitmen will be suiting up for their fourth game in five days. “It’s going to take everyone, but we’ll build off this win tonight and hopefully get another.”

“A four-in-five makes it tough, so a win like this keeps the confidence going,” added Dumba. “We’ll have a good sleep in our beds and then off to Edmonton (today) to fight for another two points.”

The Oil Kings haven’t found the win column since collecting a 4-3 overtime victory over the Hitmen on New Year’s Day.

Just when it appeared it couldn’t get any worse for the Oil Kings they find themselves without rookie defenceman Will Warm, who is serving a three-game suspension for a charging major he received on Wednesday versus Swift Current. The 17-year-old leads all Edmonton blueliners with nine goals and 22 points.

A win this afternoon will pull the Hitmen within a single point of the Saskatoon Blades for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Last Meeting

Andy Devlin/Photo

The departed Lane Bauer, who was dealt to Kamloops prior to last month’s WHL trade deadline, struck 21 seconds into overtime to lift the Oil Kings to a 4-3 win over the Hitmen on New Year’s Day at Rogers Place.

Colton Kehler scored twice and Trey Fix-Wolansky also found the back of the net for Edmonton.

Mark Kastelic, Beck Malenstyn and Gennaro replied for the Hitmen.



Webcast: WHL Live

Hitmen Season Record: 20-26-7-2

Oil Kings Season Record: 18-33-3-1

Hitmen Power Play: 18.0% (18th)

Hitmen Penalty Kill: 74.1% (20th)

Oil Kings Power Play: 18.2% (17th)

Oil Kings Penalty Kill: 76.2% (17th)

Season Series: Calgary 2-1

Hitmen Leaders:

Goals – Matteo Gennaro (34)

Assists – Matteo Gennaro (29)

Points – Matteo Gennaro (63)

Power Play Goals – Matteo Gennaro (11)

Shorthanded Goals – Tyler Mrkonjic (1)

Game Winning Goals – Matteo Gennaro (4)

Plus/Minus – Jameson Murray and Matt Dorsey (-1)

Penalty Minutes – Micheal Zipp (81)

Wins – Cody Porter (11)

Goals Against Average – Cody Porter (3.49)

Save Percentage – Cody Porter (.890)

Shutouts – None

Oil Kings Leaders:

Goals – Davis Koch (15)

Assists – Davis Koch (40)

Points – Davis Koch (55)

Power Play Goals – Colton Kehler (8)

Shorthanded Goals – Anatolii Eizarov and Davis Koch (1)

Game Winning Goals – Graham Millar (5)

Plus/Minus – Tyson Gruninger and Wyatt McLeod (+1)

Penalty Minutes – Tyler Robertson (75)

Wins – Patrick Dea (16)

Goals Against Average – Liam Hughes (3.26)

Save Percentage – Liam Hughes (.895)

Shutouts – Patrick Dea (1)

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