GAME PREVIEW: CALGARY AT MEDICINE HAT – 03.18.23
HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (27-28-5-3) open a home-and-home set with the Tigers (28-26-8-1) tonight in Medicine Hat. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Co-op Place. The Hitmen are coming off last night’s 6-4 loss in Lethbridge. Matteo Danis and Riley Fiddler-Schultz both notched a goal and two assists each for Calgary with Maxim Muranov (1g, 1a) and London Hoilett counting the other Hitmen markers. The Tigers were 7-2 winners in Edmonton last night, blowing the game open with a four-goal third period. Defenceman Dru Krebs led the way with a hat-trick while Brendan Lee (1g, 2a) also tallied three points. The Hitmen are 3-2-1-0 in their last six games while Medicine Hat has gone 4-2-0-0 in their last six.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Hitmen hold the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 62 points sitting two points ahead of both Swift Current and Brandon. Calgary is also three points behind seventh place Medicine Hat. Brandon is in Saskatoon tonight while Swift Current is in Red Deer.
MEDICINE HAT: Tonight is the fifth of six regular season meetings between the Hitmen and Tigers. Calgary is 2-2 against their Trans-Canada rivals with both clubs having scored 14 goals. Riley Fiddler-Schultz (2g, 5a) leads Calgary with seven points in the season series while Sean Tschigerl (2g, 2a) is next with four. Shane Smith (3g, 1a), Cayden Lindstrom (2g, 2a), Dru Krebs (1g, 3a) and Dallon Melin (4a) are the top performing Tigers with four points each. Calgary is 5-7-0-0 in their last 12 visits to Medicine Hat including a 1-1 record this season.
2022-23 SERIES RECAP
Nov. 4/22 at Seven Chiefs Sportsplex: Hitmen 5 Tigers 1…The Hitmen scored five answered goals.
Nov. 26/22 in MH: Hitmen 5 Tigers 2…Five different Hitmen scored in the victory.
Dec. 2/22 in CGY: Tigers 4 Hitmen 3…The Tigers pumped 47 shots on goal.
Jan. 21/23 in MH: Tigers 7 Hitmen 1…Cayden Lindstrom led the Tigers with a goal and two assists.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CGY 136 MH 132 Power Plays: CGY 5-24 (20.1%) MH 2-23 (8.7%)
PLAYER STREAKS: Matteo Danis (5g, 2a), Maxim Muranov (1g, 5a), Riley Fiddler-Schultz (2g, 4a) and Ethan Moore (1g, 1a) all have points in back-to-back games.
3-IN-3: This weekend’s trio of games is the fifth and final time this season the Hitmen face this scenario. So far Calgary has a combined record of 3-7-3-0 through the first 13 games of compressed play.
FAST FACTS: Rookie forward Carson Wetsch returned to the Hitmen line-up last night after missing the previous 16 games with a lower body injury…Riley Fiddler-Schultz reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his five-year WHL career last night in Lethbridge. He’s also the first Hitmen to score 30 in a season since Mark Kastelic (38) and Carson Focht (32) reached that plateau during the 2019-20 season…The four-goal game by Matteo Danis on Wednesday was the first hat-trick by a Hitmen rookie since Pavel Karnaukhov tallied four points (3g, 1a) on Dec. 30, 2014, also against Lethbridge…Oliver Tulk is six face-off wins shy of 600. Hitmen freshmen Matteo Danis and London Hoilett are tied for 12th in WHL rookie goal scoring with 12 goals each… Calgary is 15-14-2-0 on the road while Medicine Hat is 15-11-4-1 at home.
WHL TOP-10: Riley Fiddler-Schultz leads the WHL in faceoff wins with 812, two more than Jett Jones of the Lethbridge Hurricanes …Carter Yakemchuk is tied for sixth in goals by a defenceman with 16 while his 13 power play tallies lead all blueliners.
PLAYOFF PUSH: Counting today, the Hitmen have five games remaining in the regular season with three at home and four on the road. Their opponent breakdown is as follows; (MH 2X’s), LET, (EDM 2X’s).
MAYFAIR DIAGNOSTICS INJURY REPORT: Billal Noori (upper body, week-to-week), Jacob Wright (lower body, day-to-day).
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Hitmen penalty kill is second in the WHL at 83.3%. On the flip side the power play is 18th at 18.9%.
REGULAR SEASON CAREER MILESTONE WATCH: Grayden Siepmann is one assist shy of 50 while Tyson Galloway needs two helpers to reach 50. Ethan Buenaventura is 44 minutes away from 3,000. Wednesday against Lethbridge Blake Heward hit the century mark in games played while Riley Fiddler-Schultz moved past Michael Stone and into 15th spot on the club’s all-time points list. Fiddler-Schultz now has 185 points. Kenton Smith is 14th with 193.
PROSPECT WATCH: Hitmen prospect Reese Hamilton, Calgary’s first-round pick, 4th overall, in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft, is in the Saskatchewan Male U18 AAA Hockey League playoffs with the Saskatoon Blazers. During the regular season the defenceman tallied 31 points (8g, 23a) in 39 games. Thus far in the post season he has two assists in six games as the Blazers are heading to the league final.
UP FOR BID: The game worn and game issued jerseys from last Saturday’s ‘Bret ‘The Hitmen’ Hart game presented by Vallen are live at elevateauctions.com/BretHart. Bidding closes for all 25 jerseys on Monday, Mar. 20 at 8:00 p.m. This year’s sweater is the third instalment in the series of jerseys inspired by Bret Hart. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre.
UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen are back home tomorrow, Sunday, Mar. 19 to complete the weekend tonight a the rematch with the Tigers. Game time is 4:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Saddledome. It will be another Sunday Funday, presented by Brookfield Residential. In addition to $2 sips and snacks specials all game long, look for concourse activities from TELUS Spark and a cast of characters outfitted by the Costume Shoppe. There are also $6 Hitmen Happy Hour food and drink deals throughout the day and a post-game family skate.