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Game Preview: Hitmen At Rebels

Candice Ward/Photos

It’s time for round eight.

The Hitmen are set to battle it out once again with Red Deer for the eighth and final time this season.

With a five-game point streak going 4-0-1, the Hitmen will look to bounce back after a 6-5 overtime loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings when they turned the clocks and became the Calgary Centennials.  Mark Kastelic and Luke Coleman both scored a pair of goals while Tye Carriere chipped in with a single marker. Jack McNaughton was back in between the pipes making 32 saves in the first tilt of the Corral Series presented by Adrenalin Source For Sports.


Centennials vs Wheat Kings Feb. 1


The first seven tilts haven’t gone as planned against the divisional rivals as Red Deer has won the six of those contest by a combined score of 27-17. Kastelic (3G, 1A), Cael Zimmerman (2G, 2A), Hunter Campbell (2G, 2A) and Jake Kryski (4A) are Calgary’s top performers in the season series with four points each.

Red Deer heads into the clash on a two-game losing streak with the most recent setback being Friday night to the hands of the Lethbridge Hurricanes by a 6-2 score. With 59 points, the Rebels sit third in the Central Division with the Hitmen sitting just four points back of them.

The last game between the clubs, is the biggest.

“All the guys in the room are competitive,” assistant coach Trent Cassan said. “The points mean more and the games get more intense as the season winds down.

“We want to get into the playoffs and know that we’re going to need to play our best hockey to make it happen.”

Saturday will see the Hitmen wrap-up a stretch of five games in seven days and will return to action Wednesday night at the Stampede Corral when they will become the Calgary Cowboys.

Kaden Elder continues his strong season, sitting one goal shy of 20
Kaden Elder continues his strong season, sitting one goal shy of 20

Hitmen Streaks:

Cael Zimmerman (2G, 3A) is riding a career-high five game point streak while Kaden Elder (2G, 6A) has points in four straight.

Mark Kastelic (4G, 3A), Luke Coleman (3G, 2A), Carson Focht (2G, 2A), and Riley Stotts (4A) all have points in three straight games.

Layne Toder (1G, 1A) has points in back-to-back games.

Jack McNaughton is 3-0-1-0 in his last four starts with a 2.50 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

Hitmen Milestones:

Carson Focht is three assists away from 50.

Riley Stotts is two points short of 100.

Kaden Elder is two games shy of 300.

Hitmen

Record: 25-19-4-1

Goals For: 181

Goals Against: 170

Leaders:

Goals: Mark Kastelic (34)

Assists: Egor Zamula (32)

Points: Kastelic (55)

Powerplay Goals: Kastelic (17)

Shorthanded Goals: Luke Coleman, Kastelic (2)

Shots: Kastelic (193)

Top Goalie: Jack McNaughton, 18-12-2-1, 3.22 GAA, 0.891 SV%

Rebels

Record: 28-17-2-1

Goals For: 165

Goals Against: 155

Leaders:

Goals: Brandon Hagel (30)

Assists: Hagel (45)

Points: Hagel (75)

Powerplay Goals: Jeff De Wit (10)

Shorthanded Goals: Hagel, Reese Johnson (3)

Shots: Hagel (224)

Top Goalie: Ethan Anders, 23-13-2, 3.13 GAA, .908 SV%

Hitmen will look to get their powerplay on track against Red Deer, going 1-21 in the first seven games
Hitmen will look to get their powerplay on track against Red Deer, going 1-21 in the first seven games

Special Teams Rankings:

Hitmen

Powerplay: 46 for 175 26.3% (2nd Overall)

Penalty Kill: 80.5% (7th Overall)

Rebels

Powerplay: 37 for 188 19.7% (14th Overall)

Penalty Kill: 77.5% (15th Overall)

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