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Game Preview: Hitmen At Blades Jan. 11

Candice Ward/Photos

The momentum keeps on building.

The Hitmen are in Saskatoon to take on the Blades for the fourth and final meeting of the season, as they look to extend the winning streak to six games.

It’s the second game of a four-game road swing which started Wednesday night with a 3-2 shootout win over the Moose Jaw Warriors. Kaden Elder and Dakota Krebs scored in regulation while Josh Prokop scored the winner in round four to secure the two points. Rookie goaltender Jack McNaughton picked up the win making 33 saves in another outstanding performance.


Hitmen At Warriors Jan. 9


So far in the season series against the Blades, the Hitmen are 1-2 with their lone victory on Oct. 17 which saw them come out on top with a 5-4 overtime win. Josh Prokop (2G, 2A) leads the Hitmen with four points against the Blades while Carson Focht (2G, 1A) is next with three.

Winners of five of their last six games and on a two-game win streak, the Blades continue to hold onto second in the East Division with 57 points, eight points up on Moose Jaw. With a 6-2-2 mark in their last ten, the Blades have started off their home stand 2-0 with their most recent victory being Tuesday against Seattle.

With their strong play going 15-4-1-1 since Nov.11, the Hitmen have been one of the hottest teams in the league and with the roll they have been on, sit just five points out of third in the Central Division with two games in hand.

With just 28 games remaining on the regular season schedule, they know its crunch time.

“Each game here on out holds significant value,” head coach Steve Hamilton said. “We know what we have to do to continue our success and we want to climb up the standings.”

“We’ve always responded well when playing on short rest and I don’t expect this weekend to be an different.”

There will be little time for rest as the Hitmen return to action Saturday night to take on the league-leading Prince Albert Raiders to wrap up the East Division portion of the road trip.

Vladislav Yeryomenko has five points (5A) in his last five games
Vladislav Yeryomenko has five points (5A) in his last five games

Hitmen Streaks:

Mark Kastelic (2A) and Vladislav Yeryomenko (2A) have points in back-to-back games.

Jack McNaughton has won his last five starts in goal, posting a goals against average of 2.16 and a .924 save percentage.

Hitmen Milestones:

Hunter Campbell is two games away from 100.

Kaden Elder is three helpers shy of 50

Hitmen

Record: 20-16-3-1

Goals For: 147

Goals Against: 141

Leaders:

Goals: Mark Kastelic (27)

Assists: Egor Zamula (28)

Points: Kastelic, Jake Kryski (43)

Powerplay Goals: Kastelic (14)

Shorthanded Goals: Kastelic (2)

Shots: Kastelic (155)

Top Goalie: Jack McNaughton, 14-9-1-1, 3.18 GAA, 0.892 SV%

Blades

Record: 26-12-5

Goals For: 149

Goals Against: 125

Leaders:

Goals: Max Gerlach (24)

Assists: Dawson Davidson (33)

Points: Kirby Dach (46)

Powerplay Goals: Gerlach (10)

Shorthanded Goals: Several Players Tied (1)

Shots: Gerlach (153)

Top Goalie: Nolan Maier, 21-8-4, 2.74 GAA, .908 SV%

The Hitmen powerplay will look to get back on track after failing to score last game against Moose Jaw
The Hitmen powerplay will look to get back on track after failing to score last game against Moose Jaw

Special Teams Rankings:

Hitmen

Powerplay: 37 for 142 26.1% (4th Overall)

Penalty Kill: 81.7% (5th Overall)

Blades

Powerplay: 35 for 184 19% (16th Overall)

Penalty Kill: 81.3% (6th Overall)

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