HITMEN HEADLINES: Back from their west coast road swing, the Calgary Hitmen (8-2-1-1) will host the Medicine Hat Tigers (5-8-1-0) tonight in their first meeting of the season at the Scotiabank Saddledome. After playing three games in B.C. over Oct.16-20, the Hitmen return to Calgary following two wins and one loss. Calgary opened the road trip on Oct. 16 with a 5-0 victory over Prince George. Chris Driedger recorded his fourth career WHL shutout as the Hitmen outshot the Cougars 53-30 to set a new franchise record for most shots in a single period, with 27 in the second frame. Following a 3-1 setback in Victoria on Oct. 18, Calgary capped off the road trip with a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Giants last Saturday. The Hitmen remain tied with the Prince Albert Raiders for first place in the Eastern Conference and sit one point ahead of Edmonton for top spot in the Central Division.
VS. MEDICINE HAT: Tonight is the first of six meetings between the Hitmen and Tigers. Last season, Medicine Hat took four of six games in the series against Calgary. The Tigers currently sit fifth in the Central Division with only two wins in their last 10 contests. Still carried by a strong contingent of forwards, including Hunter Shinkaruk who netted 49 goals a year ago, the Tigers are missing a couple of key players from last season’s roster. Gone are goaltender Tyler Bunz who graduated to the Edmonton Oilers’ system and Emerson Etem, selected in the first round (29th overall) by Anaheim in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Etem scored a league-leading 61 goals in 2011-12.
Oct. 15 in M.H Tigers 5 Hitmen 0 Medicine Hat Tigers scored three second period goals 3:15 apart en route to a 5-0 win.
Dec. 4 in CAL Tigers 2 Hitmen 1 C. Brooks tallied Calgary’s lone goal in the 17th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss.
Jan. 18 in CAL Tigers 5 Hitmen 1 Medicine Hat scored three unanswered goals to earn a 5-1 win.
Jan. 28 in M.H Hitmen 5 Tigers 2 Calgary went 3-3 on the power play.
Feb. 7 in M.H. Tigers 5 Hitmen 3 Tyler Bunz made 40 saves for the Tigers.
Feb. 22 in CAL Hitmen 5 Tigers 2 Cody Sylvester, Victor Rask and Brady Brassart each had two assists for Calgary.
INSIDE THE 2011-12 SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 214 M.H 172 Power Plays: CAL 4-26 (15.4%) M.H 7-29 (24.1%)
HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:
Goals (11) Cody Sylvester Power Play Goals (7) Cody Sylvester PIM (35) Darian HenryAssists (14) Brooks Macek Plus/Minus (+12) Brady Brassart, Alex Roach
Points (21) Brooks Macek Wins (6) Chris Driedger
IN THE BOOKS: On Saturday, Oct. 20, captain Cody Sylvester recorded his first career WHL hat trick in a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Giants at Pacific Coliseum. Now in his fifth season with Calgary, the overage forward has tallied 67 goals and added 86 assists for 153 points over 258 games played.
ROSTER ADDITION: Brendan Hurley, a native of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, has been added to the roster for the weekend. Last season, the 19-year-old forward recorded five goals and added four assists for nine points along with 62 penalty minutes over 49 games played with Kootenay and Medicine Hat. Now at 26 players, Calgary’s roster includes 16 forwards, eight defencemen and two goaltenders.
TEAM WHL: Forward Brady Brassart has been named to Team WHL for the 2012 SUBWAY® Super Series. The 19-year-old forward currently sits second in team scoring with 15 points (six goals, nine assists). Team WHL will face Team Russia in games five and six of the series played Wednesday, November 14 in Vancouver, B.C., and on Thursday, November 15 in Victoria, B.C. The first two games of the series are hosted by the QMJHL with the OHL hosting games three and four.
U16 CHALLENGE CUP: Five of Calgary’s 10 prospects from the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft will compete in the 2012 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup from November 1-4 at the Father David Bauer Arena. Lochlan Morrison, Terrell Draude and Brennan Riddle will join Team Saskatchewan, while James Shearer and Jordan Stallard were named to Team Manitoba.
AHL REPORT: Victor Rask has tallied one goal and two assists over four games this season with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.
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).
HITMEN FIGHT CANCER: Over the month of October, the Hitmen in partnership with Delta West Academy, continue their support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Prairies/NWT Region as well as the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta. This Sunday during the Hitmen Fight Cancer, players will wear pink jerseys that will be featured in an online auction until Tues., Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. MT. Fans can bid on these game-worn jerseys by visiting www.elevateauctions.com/hitmenhockeycancer.
POST-GAME AUTOGRAPHS: Meet forward Brady Brassart at the Booster Club table located by section 212 after the game.
UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen travel to Red Deer tomorrow night to take on the Rebels at the ENMAX Centrium, before returning to the Scotiabank Saddledome Sunday afternoon to the host Kelowna Rockets, with a 4 p.m. puck drop. For Sunday’s Hitmen Fight Cancer game presented by Delta West Academy, the ice will be painted pink and players will be wearing pink jerseys in support of the club’s October cancer initiatives.
Sat., Oct. 27 at Red Deer, 7:30 p.m., SN 960 The FAN
Sun., Oct. 28 vs. Kelowna, 4:00 p.m., SN 960 The FAN