Elder Scores Teddy Goal, Hitmen Defeat Blazers 6-3

Candice Ward/Photo

All it took was four minutes.

And down came the teddies.

Kaden Elder scored the most anticipated goal for the 2018 The Brick Teddy Bear Toss and the Hitmen capped it off with a 6-3 win.

All in all, it was a sweet day for everyone.

“It was an awesome experience and something I’ll never forget,” Elder said. “The atmosphere in the rink was unbelievable with all the fans and the teddy bears.

“It was definitely an adrenaline rush and when it went in I was thinking about the celebration and kind of zoned out because I was trying to just take in the moment and enjoy every second of it. It just a surreal moment.”

Egor Zamula scored a pair of goals while Jake Kryski, James Malm and Tye Carriere also scored to lead the offensive outpour. Goaltender Jack McNaughton was solid once again with 23 saves to pick up his fourth straight win.

For the Blazers, Martin Lang, Kyrell Sopotyk and Zane Franklin all found the back of the net. Dylan Garand made 22 saves before being replaced by Dylan Ferguson who came in and made eight stops in relief.

With the win, the Hitmen are now back to .500 with a 14-14-2-1 mark and have won four straight, and five straight home games.

After the tough start to the season, things have drastically turned around to get back into the playoff race sitting two points back of Medicine Hat with a game in hand in the wildcard race.

“It’s been a huge climb out of the whole we were in at the beginning of the season,” head coach Steve Hamilton said. “We’ve had to really grind our way back into it and these games have been really important to us.

“We’re trending into the right direction and I am proud of our group for turning things around and never giving up.”

After Elder scored the goal that caused the fur frenzy, things went back and forth until halfway in the middle frame when the Hitmen took over.

Four unanswered goals later and they were able to seal the deal.

“Before the goal was scored we came out hard and we wanted to stick to that,” Elder said. “After getting away from our identity in the last five minutes in the first we came out and dominated the second period.

“Everyone was committed to get the two points and our hard work paid off for us.”

The Hitmen will now gear up for a three-in-three weekend before the holiday break but before then, they will head out to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Monday morning to deliver the stuffed animals.

Another thing that makes The Brick Teddy Bear Toss special.

“It’s awesome to share this moment with the kids and spread some cheer and have some fun,” Riley Stotts said. “To see the smiles on their faces is going to be an amazing feeling.

“We’re happy to be a part of it and we’re excited to head down there.”

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