With a large, strong, powerful frame, forward Zane Jones has the ability to stand in front of the net and command respect. Besides getting into the goaltenders heads, it’s an easy spot to pick up the so-called garbage goals that made some guys careers in the NHL.
Tonight, Jones got two of them as the Calgary Hitmen rolled to a 5-2 win over the visiting Regina Pats.
After Sunday’s game, Jones admits both goals were quite lucky.
Jones parked himself in front and a centering pass from Greg Chase bounced off Jones’s leg and past Pats netminder Teagan Sacher only 90 seconds into the affair.
Later in the third, he showed off his baseball skills when he swatted in a rebound with his stick about a foot from the crossbar as the eventual insurance goal in the win.
“When I get goals, they come in (bunches) so I just have to find a way to get more consistency throughout the season,” said Jones, who was held scoreless in the last 10 games.
Head coach Mike Williamson said he expects Jones to spend a lot of time in front of the net, annoying the opposing goaltenders.
“He can get rewarded if he finds a way to get into that area and compete there,” said Williamson. “He’s got a good set of hands, great hand-eye, and he makes it hard on other goalies to see when the play is developing.
From Jones’ first goal of the game, the Hitmen controlled the tempo of play. With three minutes left in the first period, Brady Brassart redirected a shot from Brooks Macek on the powerplay.
The Pats were held to just five shots in the period on Hitmen starter Mack Shields.
Pavlo Padakin added to the lead when he stole the puck away from a Pats defender behind their net, and scored on the wraparound.
After Jones made it 4-0 early on in the third, the Regina Pats finally got on the board.
Highly-rated forward Morgan Kilmchuk took a pass in the circle and rocketed a wrist shot top corner on Shields, knocking the water bottle off the net.
Lane Scheidl cut the lead to two a few minutes later, but former Pats forward Colten Mayor put the game on ice when he sniped his first in a Hitmen uniform.
“It was definitely a relief,” Mayor said, who joined Calgary at the trade deadline in a deal from Regina and has saw action in 15 games. “I haven’t been able to score and that’s been taxing on me. My confidence was going down a little and that one definitely felt good.”
“It was great to see,” Williamson said. “He had a lot of great chances and was snake bitten a little bit. You could tell he was lacking a little bit of confidence wondering when he was going to get that goal so it was nice to see him rewarded.”
The Pats scored on both of their shots in the third period.
Victor Rask continued his hot streak, assisting on three goals while Brooks Macek and Greg Chase extended their point streaks to five and three games respectively.
Shields picked up his 10th victory of the season, making 13 saves along the way. Sacher turned away 23 shots in his 11th loss of the season.
The Hitmen were two for five on the powerplay, while allowing only a goal of five penalty kills.
The Hitmen now have a few days off before they prepare for the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.