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Game Preview: Hitmen At Hurricanes March. 9

Candice Ward/Photos

It’s down to just three.

The Hitmen roll into Lethbridge Saturday night to wrap up the season series and weekend against the Hurricanes.

They will be looking for a big bounce back after Friday night saw a six-game win streak come to an end for the Hitmen with a 5-1 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings, falling six points out of first in the Central Division. Mark Kastelic scored his league-leading 24th goal on the power play for the lone goal, while Jack McNaughton ended with 27 saves. Both Kastelic and Malm extended their respective point streaks, to remain tied for the team lead in points with 76.


Hitmen vs Oil Kings March. 9


With playoffs right around the corner, a lot is still to be decided in terms of who the Hitmen will face in the first round with Lethbridge being a possible opponent. So far in the season series, the Hurricanes lead the series 4-1 with the two teams combining for 48 goals in five games. Kastelic (5G, 4A) is Calgary’s top scorer with nine points against the ‘Canes while Kaden Elder (4G, 2A) and Jake Kryski (1G, 5A) both have six.

Lethbridge head into the matchup riding a five-game win streak and an 8-2 record in their last ten to keep pace with Edmonton for the battle for top spot in the division. Their 254 goals scored are second in the WHL, but the Hitmen are right there with 249 that is good for third. Following the tilt Saturday they will face off against two teams battling for their playoff lives in Red Deer and Medicine Hat.

The Hitmen have done it all year of bouncing back after an unfavourable game, they’ll look to do it again as they try to fight for home ice advantage in the post-season.

“Everyone is ready to roll and we need to set the tone right when the puck drops,” Mark Kastelic said. “There’s a good chance we can face them and we just need to worry about our game and what we can control.

“It’s going to be  big game.”

The regular season will wrap up next weekend with a home-and-home set against Edmonton, with the final home game before playoffs on Sunday March. 17.

The captain is just four goals away from reaching the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career
The captain is just four goals away from reaching the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career

Hitmen Streaks

Mark Kastelic (4G, 5A) is on a six-game point streak.

James Malm (10G, 6A) has points in seven of his last eight games.

Hitmen Milestones:

Carson Focht is two games shy of 200.

Riley Stotts needs three goals for 50.

Vladislav Yeryomenko is three points shy of 100.

Hitmen

Record: 36-23-5-1

Goals For: 249

Goals Against: 2224

Leaders:

Goals: Mark Kastelic (46)

Assists: Egor Zamula (45)

Points: Kastelic, James Malm (76)

Powerplay Goals: Kastelic (24)

Shorthanded Goals: Luke Coleman, Kastelic (2)

Shots: Kastelic (251)

Top Goalie: Jack McNaughton, 25-13-3-1, 3.18 GAA, 0.890 SV%

Hurricanes

Record: 37-18-5-5

Goals For: 254

Goals Against: 225

Leaders:

Goals: Jake Leschyshyn (37)

Assists: Nick Henry (60)

Points: Henry (90)

Powerplay Goals: Leschyshyn (15)

Shorthanded Goals: Jake Elmer (6)

Shots: Jordy Bellerive (257)

Top Goalie: Carl Tetachuk, 22-9-1-1, 2.84 GAA, .911 SV%

Hitmen will look to get the powerplay going with just two goals in the season series so far
Hitmen will look to get the powerplay going with just two goals in the season series so far

Special Teams Rankings

Hitmen

Powerplay: 66 for 233 28.3% (2nd Overall)

Penalty Kill: 80.9% (7th Overall)

Hurricanes

Powerplay: 58 for 242 24% (4th Overall)

Penalty Kill: 76.9% (15th Overall)

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