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Game Preview: Hitmen vs Raiders – Feb. 7

Candice Ward/Photo

Catching fire at the right time.

Winners of five of their last six games and 3-1 on the current home stand, the Hitmen are back in action looking to keep the hot streak going Friday night at the ‘Dome against the Prince Albert Raiders.

It’s also the start of the last three-in-three weekend of the season for the Hitmen as the schedule now sits at 20 games left to go before playoffs.

Still a lot of hockey left to go.

The last outing saw the Hitmen dominate with a 5-0 win over the Red Deer Rebels last Saturday afternoon, powered by two-goal performances by Carson Focht and Jackson van de Leest with Connor Gabruch adding a single marker.  Jack McNaughton needed just 14 saves to pick up the victory and the third shutout of his WHL career.


Highlights Feb. 1: Hitmen vs Rebels


Friday night presents yet another possible preview of a first round playoff matchup as the Raiders currently sit first in the East Division with 65 points and the Hitmen continue to hold steady in the first Wildcard Spot in the Eastern Conference with 59 points.

With a lot of uncertainty with the playoff picture, one thing that is for sure is the intensity will pick up and the tilts will start to have that playoff like atmosphere. After going 9-5 in the month of January, there’s a lot of confidence in the dressing room to stay hot and continue to round out their game.


What They Are Saying

“You ride out the momentum of ups and downs through the season. It’s a long season and you can’t afford to lose focus on any game. Any team can win on any night and it’s up to us as a group to put in a full effort and leave it all out there when it’s all said and done.” – Steve Hamilton

“Every game is huge for us especially with how close we are to playoffs. We are already in that playoff mindset of playing a complete game and having a quick reset with each period and game. It’s going to be a busy stretch but definitely a lot of fun as well.” – Jackson van de Leest


Quick Hits

Starting tonight, Hitmen will play 16 games in 30 days marking their busiest run of games this season

Hitmen are 26-6-2-0 when holding the opposition to three goals or less

Through 48 games played, the Hitmen are five points ahead of last season when they owned a record of 25-19-3-1

Brothers Orca and Ozzy Wiesblatt, Blake and Nolan Allan will face off again tonight. Orca has played 109 career regular season games in the WHL while Ozzy has appeared in 115.  Blake has played in 111 games while Nolan has skated in 44


Milestone Tracker

Mark Kastelic is one point behind Ryan Getzlaf for 10th spot on the clubs all-time points list.  Getzlaf tallied 215.  Kastelic eclipsed 100 career assists on Sunday against Red Deer.

Jett Woo is three points shy of 150

Carson Focht needs five points to hit 150

Jackson van de Leest is three points away from 50


2019/20 Stats Leaders

Hitmen

Goals: Carson Focht, Mark Kastelic (24)

Assists: Stotts (30)

Points: Stotts (52)

Power Play Goals: Focht, Stotts (6)

Shots: Focht (161)

Top Goalie: Brayden Peters, 11-10-2, 2.44 GAA, 0.910 SV%

Raiders

Leaders:

Goals: Aliaksei Protas (24)

Assists: Protas (37)

Points: Protas (61)

Power Play Goals: Ozzy Wiesblatt (8)

Shots: Protas (149)

Top Goalie: Max Paddock, 16-13-3-4, 2.92 GAA, .911 SV%

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