Hitmen Complete The Comeback For Sixth Straight Win
What. A. Comeback.
For the second game in a row, the Hitmen found themselves down but not out as they came away with a 4-3 overtime win over the Saskatoon Blades Friday night.
Mark Kastelic scored a pair of goals including the overtime winner and added an assist for a three-point night. Egor Zamula and Jake Kryski also chipped in with three points as Zamula had a goal and two assists while Kryski had three helpers. Carson Focht also found the back of the net as the Hitmen extended their win streak to a season-high six games. Goaltender Jack McNaughton stood tall ending with 21 saves for his 15th win of the season.
The Blades meanwhile saw goals from Gary Haden, Kristian Roykas Marthinsen and Ryan Hughes while Nolan Maier ended with 35 saves.
The win marked the second straight game that the Hitmen were able to force extra time late in the game and come away with the extra point as they move to 2-0 on the current four-game road swing.
After the first period saw the clubs trade goals and tied after the first 20 minutes, Saskatoon would break the deadlock with a pair of goals three minutes apart to take a 3-1 lead. With one of the Blades goals deflecting a Hitmen stick in front, the Hitmen found some much needed puck luck as a centering pass went off Zamula’s skate and in to cut the deficit to one with 18 seconds left in the stanza.
The Hitmen continued to dominate play with their relentless forecheck and effort, it was just a matter of time before they would find the equalizer.
With their second goal coming late in the second, it was only fitting that the tying goal also come late as Focht tipped a Vladislav Yeryomenko point shot in mid-air past Maier with 24.4 seconds left to play.
They were ensured a point, but were hungry for two.
The Hitmen held possession of the puck for the first minute of overtime when James Malm used his skill and speed to draw a tripping penalty in the extra session. With an 0-12 mark in their last three games with the man-advantage, it came up big when it mattered most.
As they circled the puck around looking for the opportunity to shoot, Kryski sent a perfect cross-crease pass to the captain who made no mistake in one-timing it home for the game-winner.
With the win, the Hitmen now improve to 21-16-3-1, sitting just one point back for the first wildcard spot prior to the Tigers game against the Pats, and three back for third in the Central Division.
The Hitmen will now look to build on the comeback win as they will head to Prince Albert to square off against the Raiders Saturday night.