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Game Preview: Hitmen At Thunderbirds Nov. 23

Candice Ward/Photos

It’s the final stretch.

The Hitmen are set for the weekend to wrap up the U.S. portion of the seven-game road swing starting Friday night in Seattle to take on the Thunderbirds.

With a 3-1 mark so far on the trip, the Hitmen are fresh off a 3-2 win over the Portland Winterhawks Wednesday night to pick up their first win against the Hawks in two years. Jake Kryski, James Malm and Riley Stotts provided the goals while Carl Stankowski stopped 38 shots for his second straight win.


Hitmen At Winterhawks Nov. 21


In the lone meeting of the season against Seattle last year, the T-Birds recorded a 4-3 victory on Oct. 28, 2017 at Scotiabank Saddledome, which saw the game winning goal come with just 42 seconds left. This is Calgary’s first visit to ShowWare Center since Nov. 11, 2016, when the Hitmen posted a 3-1 win.

Seattle also last played Wednesday night in a clash that saw them fall 4-2 to the Vancouver Giants. With a 2-7-0-1 mark in their last ten games, the T-Birds have stumbled out of the top three in the U.S. Division but still remain in the hunt sitting just one point back of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

With the run as of late, the Hitmen are just three points back of the Medicine Hat Tigers for a wild-card spot and four back of Lethbridge for third in the Central Division.

Of note, both Stankowski and Kaden Elder will play against their former clubs. Elder was a first-round Bantam draft pick of Seattle and played in 53 games, while Stankowski won a WHL Championship in 2017 with the T-Brids.

“I’m pretty anxious to go there and play against some of my old teammates,” Stankowski said. “I want to win that game really bad.”

“We want to keep racking up the wins. It’s not how you start the season it’s how you end it.”

The Hitmen will return to action Saturday night in Tri-City to end the U.S. swing, and will wrap up the trip next Friday night in Red Deer.

With points in three of his last four, Jake Kryski sits tied for second in team scoring (25)
With points in three of his last four, Jake Kryski sits tied for second in team scoring (25)

Hitmen Streaks:

Egor Zamula (1G, 5A) has points in five of his last six games.

Jake Kryski (2G, 2A) has points in three of his last four games.

Riley Stotts (3G) has scored in two of his last three games.

Carl Stankowski has won his last two starts stopping 71 of 74 shots.

Hitmen Milestones:

Luke Coleman is two goals short of 50.

Vladislav Yeryomenko is one game away of 150. 

Kaden Elder is three goals away from 50.

Carl Stankowski is 15 saves shy of 500.

Hitmen

Record: 9-13-2

Goals For: 84

Goals Against: 94

Leaders:

Goals: Mark Kastelic (19)

Assists: Jake Kryski (14)

Points: Kastelic (30)

Powerplay Goals: Kastelic (10)

Shorthanded Goals: Kastelic (2)

Shots: Kastelic (95)

Top Goalie: Carl Stankowski, 5-6-2, 3.86 GAA, 0.876 SV%

Thunderbirds

Record: 8-10-3

Goals For: 63

Goals Against: 72

Leaders:

Goals: Zach Andrusiak (11)

Assists: Jake Lee, Nolan Volcan (13)

Points: Dillon Hamaliuk (19)

Powerplay Goals: Noah Philip (6)

Shorthanded Goals: Several Players Tied (1)

Shots: Volcan (81)

Top Goalie: Liam Hughes, 8-8-2, 3.22 GAA, 0.913 SV%

The Hitmen special teams rankings have seen a boost with their play on the road trip
The Hitmen special teams rankings have seen a boost with their play on the road trip

Special Teams Rankings:

Hitmen

Powerplay: 20 for 83 24.1% (11th Overall)

Penalty Kill: 76% (14th Overall)

Thunderbrids

Powerplay: 17 for 97 17.5% (18th Overall)

Penalty Kill: 80.2% (7th Overall)

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