HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (17-5-1-2) will put their four-game win streak on the line tonight as they battle the Saskatoon Blades (12-12-0-1) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Last Friday the Hitmen got some revenge with a 4-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers, making up for a lopsided 10-1 loss against the Tigers in October. Captain Cody Sylvester added to his team-leading goal total, tallying two markers in the contest. Victor Rask and Pavlo Padakin also scored in the win, while Chris Driedger notched his 14th win of the season. Calgary is tied with Edmonton for the Central Division lead at 37 points and sits one point behind the Prince Albert Raiders for top spot in the Eastern Conference.
VS. SASKATOON: This evening’s Safeway Movember game is the first of four meetings between the Hitmen and Blades. Last year, Calgary went 2-2-0-0 against Saskatoon including an overtime home ice triumph late in the season. Jimmy Bubnick (4g, 3a) and Cody Sylvester (4g, 3a) led Calgary with seven points each in the series, while Josh Nicholls (3g, 4a) also had seven points for the Blades. After tonight’s contest, Saskatoon won’t make another trip to Calgary until the end of February.
Nov. 2/11 at SAS: Blades 4 Hitmen 1 … Saskatoon scored four answered goals, while Andrey Makarov denied 39 Calgary shots.
Nov. 20/11 at CAL: Blades 6 Hitmen 5 … Lukas Sutter netted the game winner, his second of the night, in the third period.
Nov. 25/11 at SAS: Hitmen 6 Blades 2 … Jimmy Bubnick tallied two goals, while Brandon Glover made 35 saves for Calgary.
Mar. 2/12 at CAL: Hitmen 4 Blades 3 (OT) … Cody Sylvester netted the game-winning goal and his second of the night at 3:46 in OT.
INSIDE THE 2011-12 SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 163 SAS 123
Power Plays: CAL 2-16 (12.5%) SAS 3-17 (17.6%)
Next Meeting: Fri., Feb. 1 at Saskatoon, 6:05 p.m. MT
HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:
Goals (16) Cody Sylvester
Assists (17) Brooks Macek
Points (28) Brooks Macek
Power Play Goals (9) Cody Sylvester
Plus-Minus (+17) Alex Roach
PIM (69) Darian Henry
Wins (14) Chris Driedger
MEM CUP HOSTS: Calgary will go head-to-head against Saskatoon tonight, the hosts of the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The last time a WHL team hosted the tournament was in 2010 when the Brandon Wheat Kings held that honor. In the 2010-11 season, Calgary went 1-3-0-0 against Brandon. The two rivals would meet in the Eastern Conference Finals that spring where the Hitmen eliminated the Wheat Kings in five games before going on to win the WHL championship. At the 2010 Memorial Cup, Calgary defeated Brandon in the round robin only to be sent home by the Wheat Kings in the Semi-Final in overtime. The winner of that year’s tournament was the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.
MOVEMBER MAGIC: Over the month of November, the Hitmen have played some of their best hockey this season and now find themselves near the top of the WHL standings. Calgary has won nine of their last 10 games, all coming this month. The top point producer over the last 10 games is overage forward Cody Sylvester who has eight points (3g, 5a) in eight November contests. Following him are overagers Spencer Humphries (1g, 6a) with seven points in 10 games and Brooks Macek (4g, 3a) with seven points over nine. Goaltender Chris Driedger is 8-0-0-0 on the month with only 13 goals allowed over that span.
BROTHERLY LOVE: With this being the first game of the year between the Hitmen and Blades, it marks the first chance for brothers Dalton and Josh Thrower to face each other. Josh, selected by Calgary in the second round (23rd overall) in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft, was recently named to Team Pacific for the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Victoriaville/Drummondville, Quebec. Dalton, the 51st overall pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Last season, Dalton collected 54 points, including 18 goals, over 66 games with the Blades.
NHL PROSPECTS: Chris Driedger (Ottawa 2012); Kenton Helgesen (Anaheim 2012); Jaynen Rissling (Washington 2012); Alex Roach (Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Los Angeles 2011); Victor Rask (Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Carolina 2011).
MO BROS: The Calgary Hitmen together with Canada Safeway Ltd. and Prostate Cancer Canada are proud to support Movember, a month to fight prostate cancer, for the fourth season. During the month of November, Hitmen players and staff are growing moustaches to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer Canada. To support your favorite Hitmen team member, visit mobro.co/hitmenmovemberteam. The Calgary Hitmen Movember team has raised $45,950 for Prostate Cancer Canada since the launch of the inaugural campaign in November 2009.
POST-GAME AUTOGRAPHS: Meet forward Pavlo Padakin at the Booster Club table located by section 212 after the game.
UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen complete their four-game homestand on Sunday, Dec. 2 in the 18th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss against the Kootenay Ice. Puck drop is 2 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome. After two games on the road, Calgary returns to the ‘Dome on Dec. 8 when they face the Edmonton Oil Kings. For as low as $10 for adults and $5 for children, tickets are still available at all Ticketmaster locations and the Scotiabank Saddledome box office for Sunday’s Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss. Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.
Sun., Dec. 2 vs. Kootenay Ice, 2 p.m., SN 960 The FAN
Tue., Dec. 4 at Kootenay Ice, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN