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Game Preview: Hitmen At Raiders Jan. 12

Candice Ward/Photos

Lucky number seven is in sight.

The Hitmen continue the road swing with matchup against the Prince Albert Raiders Saturday night looking to extend their win streak to seven games.

It’s a quick turnaround, as the Hitmen were in Saskatoon Friday night which saw them come out on top with a 4-3 overtime win. Mark Kastelic scored a pair while Egor Zamula and Carson Focht added singles. Jack McNaughton in his 16th straight start made 21 saves to pick up the win.  After trailing 3-1, the Hitmen would score two unanswered goals with the tying goal coming with 24 seconds to force the extra session, with Kastelic’s second marker 1:24 into overtime completing the comeback.

Saturday is the third of four regular season meetings between the Hitmen and Raiders.  Prince Albert is 2-0 having outscored Calgary by a combined 12-4.  Kastelic (1G, 1A) leads the Hitmen with two points against the Raiders while nine others have a single point. Over the last five seasons, the Hitmen are 6-5-3-0 against the Raiders including a 3-2-2-0 mark in Prince Albert.

After losing just their fifth game of the season Wednesday night against Seattle, the Raiders bounced back with a 4-2 victory over Portland Friday night to now sit at 73 points. With a 15-point lead over the Blades and leading the WHL in wins and points, Prince Albert has gone 7-3 in their last ten to continue to their strong play.

The Hitmen know it’ll be no easy task going up against the top team in the CHL, but that isn’t stopping them from sticking to their game plan and knowing what to do to come away with the two points.

“We’ve been overlooked and counted out before and used it as motivation,” head coach Steve Hamilton said. “We embrace rising up to challenges and this game is no different compared to any other.

“There are no easy games and you have to be prepared to work no matter who the opponent is.”

The Hitmen will now enjoy six days off after the tilt, with the trip ending next Saturday in Edmonton before returning home Sunday afternoon to take on the Rebels.

The captain surpassed his career high point total last night to now sit at 46 points on the year
The captain surpassed his career high point total last night to now sit at 46 points on the year

Hitmen Streaks:

Mark Kastelic (2G, 3A) and Vladislav Yeryomenko (3A) are both riding three-game point streaks.

Jack McNaughton has won his last six starts in goal, posting a goals against average of 2.30 and a .917 save percentage.

Jake Kryski (5G, 10A) has points in 10 of his last 11 games.

Hitmen Milestones:

Hunter Campbell is one game away from 100.

Kaden Elder is three helpers shy of 50

Hitmen

Record: 21-16-3-1

Goals For: 151

Goals Against: 144

Leaders:

Goals: Mark Kastelic (29)

Assists: Egor Zamula (30)

Points: Kastelic, Jake Kryski (46)

Powerplay Goals: Kastelic (15)

Shorthanded Goals: Kastelic (2)

Shots: Kastelic (163)

Top Goalie: Jack McNaughton, 15-9-1-1, 3.17 GAA, 0.891 SV%

Raiders

Record: 36-5-0-1

Goals For: 191

Goals Against: 92

Leaders:

Goals: Brett Leason (29)

Assists: Leason (39)

Points: Leason (68)

Powerplay Goals: Noah Gregor (8)

Shorthanded Goals: Leason (5)

Shots: Gregor (198)

Top Goalie: Ian Scott, 25-4-0-1, 1.74 GAA, .939 SV%

It'll be a battle of special teams  as the Hitmen powerplay is third in the league, with the Raiders PK first
It’ll be a battle of special teams as the Hitmen powerplay is third in the league, with the Raiders PK first

Special Teams Rankings:

Hitmen

Powerplay: 38 for 144 26.4% (3rd Overall)

Penalty Kill: 82% (5th Overall)

Raiders

Powerplay: 37 for 164 22.6% (10th Overall)

Penalty Kill: 87.8% (1st Overall)

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