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Game Preview: Hitmen At Wheat Kings Feb. 20

Candice Ward/Photos

The value of games continues to rise.

Wednesday night will see the Hitmen continue the four-game road swing in Brandon for a massive game against the Wheat Kings.

The Hitmen will look to continue to ride momentum, after they took care of business over the weekend with a home-and-home sweep of the Medicine Hat Tigers. With a 3-1 victory Friday night and a 5-3 win Saturday, the Hitmen are now just two points back of the Tigers for third in the Central Division with two games in hand.

Mark Kastelic scored his second hat-trick of the season to lead the offensive charge in the most recent triumph over the Central Division rivals with Luke Coleman and Vladislav Yeryomenko adding single markers. In his fourth straight start, Carl Stankowski was tremendous ending with 27 saves making several big stops to preserve the win.


Hitmen At Tigers Feb. 16


So far in the season series against Brandon, the Hitmen have gone 1-0-1 with the visiting team winning the first two clashes with both needing overtime to find a winner. Kastelic (4G, 1A) leads the Hitmen with five points in the season series while Coleman (3G, 1A) is next with four.

Winners of four straight games which include a pair of wins over the league leading Prince Albert Raiders, the Wheat Kings are now just two points away from a playoff spot. With a stretch of 7-3 in their last ten, their winning streak has been a big reason why they are within striking range.

The Hitmen currently hold the first wildcard position with 65 points and will look to further the gap between them and the two teams chasing in Red Deer and Brandon. But with the way they have been playing, instead of looking back they are looking up.

“This is the time of year where you want to continue to build momentum,” head coach Steve Hamilton said. “We picked up four valuable points but we can’t marvel at our work, we need to keep pressing.

“There’s still a lot of hockey to be played.”

Friday night will be the next outing for the Hitmen when they head to Regina to take on the Pats and close out the road swing the following night in Swift Current.

With his current goal streak, Mark Kastelic has surpassed the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career
With his current goal streak, Mark Kastelic has surpassed the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career

Hitmen Streaks:

Riley Stotts (4G, 9A) is riding a 10 game point streak.

James Malm (3G, 8A) is on a seven-game point streak.

Mark Kastelic (5G, 2A) has points in four straight games.

Egor Zamula (1G, 3A), Carson Focht (1G, 1A) and Dakota Krebs (2A) all have points in back-to-back games.

Carl Stankowski has won his last two starts posting a goals against average of 2.00 and .933 save percentage.

Hitmen Milestones:

Jackson van de Leest is two games shy of 100.

Riley Stotts needs four goals for 50.

Hitmen

Record: 30-21-4-1

Goals For: 208

Goals Against: 194

Leaders:

Goals: Mark Kastelic (42)

Assists: James Malm (37)

Points: Kastelic (67)

Powerplay Goals: Kastelic (22)

Shorthanded Goals: Luke Coleman, Kastelic (2)

Shots: Kastelic (225)

Top Goalie: Jack McNaughton, 20-12-2-1, 3.20 GAA, 0.892 SV%

Wheat Kings

Record: 27-22-3-4

Goals For: 191

Goals Against: 195

Leaders:

Goals: Stelio Mattheos (37)

Assists: Mattheos (47)

Points: Mattheos (84)

Powerplay Goals: Mattheos (18)

Shorthanded Goals: Linden McCorrister (3)

Shots: Mattheos (228)

Top Goalie: Jiri Patera, 19-13-2-2, 3.20 GAA, .908 SV%

The Hitmen have gone 3/4 in their last two games while on the power play
The Hitmen have gone 3/4 in their last two games while on the power play

Special Teams Rankings:

Hitmen

Powerplay: 51 for 198 25.8% (3rd Overall)

Penalty Kill: 80.9% (6th Overall)

Wheat Kings

Powerplay: 51 for 224 22.8% (7th Overall)

Penalty Kill: 71.2% (21st Overall)

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