Hitmen Comeback Falls Short In High Scoring Affair
In the end, it was last goal wins.
The Hitmen dropped a high-scoring 7-6 game to the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome for Roughnecks night.
Despite tying the game up on three separate occasions, the Hitmen couldn’t find one more equalizer in the dying seconds of the third.
“I didn’t like our game at all,” head coach Steve Hamilton said. “Yes we were resilient to keep coming back but you’re asking a lot from yourself to need to get seven or eight goals a night to win. It’s not an equation that adds up.
“We can’t be easy to play against and we can’t allow ourselves to go off the grid especially in our zone like we did tonight.”
The Hurricanes saw a pair of goals from Keltie Jeri-Leon, while Logan Barlage, Calen Addison, Jordy Bellerive, Jadon Joseph and Zachary Cox added singles. Reece Klassen made 26 stops for the win.
Mark Kastelic, Kaden Elder and Ryder Korczak all scored a pair of goals for the Hitmen, with Korczak scoring his first career WHL goal. Carl Stankowski and Jack McNaughton split the duties in net, as McNaughton came in relief just over halfway through the second frame.
“It’s awesome to get that first goal,” Korczak said. “Once you get the first goal under your wing you grow a lot of confidence and I felt like I was playing with more confidence.
“Hopefully I can keep it going and just continuing to play at this same gear.”
With music playing for the entire game, it was a new and different experience for the two clubs to play in such a unique game. After a bit of adjusting through the first few minutes of the game, the teams would pick up the pace and it showed with the high-scoring game.
But, at the end of the day the seven goals allowed was a point of a concern.
“It was definitely different but we knew it would be,” Hamilton said. “Both teams played in the same conditions so you can’t factor that into the result.
“We gave up too many goals plain and simple. They seemed to score at will at times and that’s very disappointing since I thought we made huge progress until tonight.”
The Hitmen will now look to rebound Sunday afternoon when the Saskatoon Blades roll into town. Sunday’s matinee marks the third time this month that the clubs will face off, as the Hitmen look for the same result they had when they came away with a 5-4 overtime win on the road.
“It’s just as big as any other game,” Kastelic said. “We want to win every game and that’s the mindset that we need to have each time. We’ve gotten away from our game lately and we need to get back to playing like how we did on the road trip.
“We need to come together and believe in each other.”