Hitmen On Fire With Fifth Straight Win
The Hitmen got the job done once again Wednesday night as they defeated the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2 in a shootout for their fifth straight win.
Kaden Elder and Dakota Krebs scored in regulation with Josh Prokop scoring the shootout winner as the Hitmen reached the 20-win mark on the season. Jack McNaughton put on a stellar performance ending with 33 saves for his team-leading 14th win on the year.
Tristin Langan and Keenan Taphorn scored for the Warriors who have now lost two in a row after a four-game win streak, with Adam Evanoff ending the night with 35 saves.
It was a tightly contested game, as each team was well deserving of a point on a night where the goaltenders stole the show.
While both teams rank in the top-10 in the WHL for powerplay percentage, all four goals scored in regulation were 5-on-5 with the Hitmen going 0/5 and the Warriors 0/6 with the man-advantage.
The first period saw the Hitmen spend most of the period down a man killing off not one but two double minors and a 5-on-3, with McNaughton making some big stops as the clubs were knotted up at zero after the first 20 minutes.
Five minutes into the middle stanza, Langan would deflect a pass in the slot that trickled by McNaughton to give Moose Jaw the lead. With four minutes left in the frame, the Hitmen were buzzing as Kastelic rang a shot off the post which was followed up by a Luke Prokop shot that was stopped by Elder was there on the doorstep to even the game up.
Moose Jaw would once again retake the lead as a point shot went off of Taphorn’s skate and into the back of the net eight minutes into the third.
The Hitmen had many chances to score with a couple powerplay opportunities but it wasn’t until with just over two minute left that Krebs would wire a slap shot that went off Evanoff’s glove and in to force overtime.
The extra session solved nothing despite quality scoring chances going both ways and it was off to a shootout.
Que the comeback once again.
After Moose Jaw jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the shootout, James Malm would extend the game scoring five-hole with the Warriors then missing their third shot. With the Hitmen needing a goal Carson Focht delivered getting the goaltender moving before he fired a wrister to extend the skills contest.
McNaughton would then open the fourth round with a stop which setup Josh Prokop to play the role of hero as he also went five-hole to give the Hitmen the extra point.
With the win, the Hitmen now move within five points of third and fourth in the Central Division, while now sitting six points up on Brandon for the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Hitmen will now have a day off before they return to action Friday night in Saskatoon to take on the Blades.