HITMEN HEADLINES: Tonight the Calgary Hitmen (1-0-0-0) open their 2012-13 home schedule when they host the Kootenay Ice (0-1-0-0) in the Adrenalin Source For Sports Home Opener. Calgary kicked off their 18th Western Hockey League season last night with a 3-2 road win over the Red Deer Rebels. Overage forward Cody Sylvester had a hand in all three Hitmen goals scoring twice and setting up another. Brady Brassart also scored for Calgary while adding one assist. Ottawa Senators prospect Chris Driedger made 25 saves to pick up the win as the Hitmen outshot the Rebels 34-27.
VS. KOOTENAY: Tonight is the first of eight meetings with the Ice. Calgary started last season with a 5-1 loss to Kootenay at the Cranbrook Recreational Complex, before returning to the Scotiabank Saddledome to record a 4-2 victory over the Ice in the 2011-12 home opener. The Hitmen fell short in the 2011-12 season series, finishing with a record of 3-5-0-0. The two teams will meet again on Sun., Nov. 11 when Kootenay returns to the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Sept. 24/11 in Kootenay: Ice 5 Hitmen 1 Calgary outshot Kootenay 30-18 in the loss.
Oct. 2/11 in Calgary: Hitmen 4 Ice 2 Calgary erased a 2-1 third period deficit. Victor Rask recorded two points (1g, 1a).
Oct. 23/11 in Calgary: Ice 4 Hitmen 2 Calgary found the back of the net on 2-of-5 power play opportunities.
Feb. 3/12 in Kootenay: Ice 2 Hitmen 1 Sam Reinhart scored his second of the night with one second remaining for the win.
Feb. 12/12 in Calgary: Ice 4 Hitmen 0 Nathan Lieuwen made 26 saves to record his third shutout of the season.
Mar. 3/12 in Kootenay: Ice 2 Hitmen 1 Sam Reinhart and Brock Montgomery scored for Kootenay.
Mar. 16/12 in Kootenay: Hitmen 6 Ice 5 OT Spencer Humphries netted an overtime marker as Calgary overcame a 4-1 first
Mar. 17/12 in Calgary: Hitmen 3 Ice 0 Chris Driedger made 25 saves to record his third shutout of the season.
INSIDE THE 2011-12 SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 212 KTN 189 Power Plays: CAL 5-36 (13.8%) KTN 5-30 (16.6%)
ROSTER BREAKDOWN: Calgary’s 26-player roster includes 15 returning players from last season and eight rookies (five forwards, two defenceman and one goaltender). Of those 26 players, the numbers breakdown as follows: 1992-born players (4), 1993-born players (6), 1994-born players (8), 1995-born players (5) and 1996-born players (3).
GOING CAMPING: 19-year-old forward Victor Rask heads to Charlotte, NC, next week for training camp with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. The native of Leksand, Sweden, was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round, 42nd overall, in the 2011 NHL Draft.
2011-12 GRADS: The three graduating Hitmen from last season have all continued their hockey careers elsewhere: Jimmy Bubnick is in the CIS with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies; Brock Sutherland is playing for the University of Manitoba Bisons (CIS); and Collin Bowman has signed with the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL, an affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and the AHL’s St. John’s IceCap.
OFF-SEASON MOVES: July 19 – Hitmen acquire 18-year-old defenceman Darian Henry from the Everett Silvertips in exchange for 18-year-old forward Luke Gordon. September 5 – Hitmen trade 18-year-old defenceman Keaton Lubin to the Regina Pats for a conditional sixth round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. September 15 – Hitmen acquire 18-year-old left wing Zane Jones and a conditional sixth round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft from the Victoria Royals in exchange for 20-year-old left wing Alex Gogolev and a fourth round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
CHL IMPORT DRAFT: Calgary selected 18-year-old forward Pavlo Padakin (Puh-DACK-in) from Kiev, Ukraine, 50th overall in the 2012 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. Last night, in a 3-2 win over the Red Deer Rebels, Padakin recorded his first point in Hitmen silks assisting on Cody Sylvester’s first period goal.
NHL PROSPECTS: Chris Driedger (Third Round, Ottawa 2012); Kenton Helgesen (Seventh Round, Anaheim 2012); Jaynen Rissling (Seventh Round, Washington 2012); Alex Roach (Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Los Angeles 2011); Victor Rask (Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Carolina 2011).
GAME-WORN JERSEY AUCTION: Tonight fans will have a chance to own a piece of franchise history as the Hitmen hold their annual Game-Worn Jersey Auction. Calgary Hitmen game-worn black jerseys from the 2011-12 season are up for bid with net proceeds supporting the Calgary Hitmen Education Fund. Visit the silent auction display located by section 227 for a chance to own a one-of-a-kind item. Each game-worn jersey includes a letter of authenticity.
POST-GAME AUTOGRAPHS: Meet defenceman Jaynen Rissling at the Booster Club table located by section 212 after the game.
UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen wrap up September with a pair of games, traveling to Edmonton on Friday, Sept. 28 and returning to the Scotiabank Saddledome the following night to host the Red Deer Rebels. Single game day tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, the Scotiabank Saddledome box office, online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.