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Game Preview: Hitmen vs Tigers Nov. 2

Candice Ward/Photo

A new month equals a fresh start.

The Hitmen are hoping to turn their fortunes around with a stacked three-in-three weekend starting Friday night against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

With a 4-9-2 start to the season, it’s been a go for the club who are coming off a pair of losses to the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Saskatoon Blades last weekend. Both tilts saw the Hitmen fall by scores of 7-6 and 5-3 respectively.

The Hitmen have had their fair share of tightly contested games on the season, something they were all but used to last year against the Tigers during the season series. Five of the six clashes between the Central Division rivals were decided by two goals or less, as the Hitmen went 3-2-0-1 against the Tigers. Carson Focht (2G, 3A) and Mark Kastelic (1G, 4A) were the top performers with five points each.

Medicine Hat is coming off a weekend that saw them finish 1-0-0-1, with a high-scoring 8-5 win over the Reina Pats, followed by a 4-3 shootout loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors. With a 7-2-0-1 mark in their last ten games played, the Tigers have been able to claw back from an up and down start to the season to hold onto third in the Central Division.

The Hitmen will have a new face in the lineup as recently acquired forward James Malm is expected to make his Hitmen debut. The 19-year-old spent four seasons with the Vancouver Giants prior to the trade and brings much needed depth scoring to the lineup.

“It’s a quick turnaround with only getting one practice in and then having a three-in-three weekend,” Malm said. “In a way it’s better to jump right into it and not overthink things too much.

“The Hitmen have always been a hard working team and I can’t wait to get things started.”

The Hitmen will return to action Saturday afternoon for a 1:30 p.m. start against the Red Deer Rebels, and will then conclude the busy weekend Sunday night in Medicine Hat.

Dakota Krebs is closing in on 200 career WHL games
Dakota Krebs is closing in on 200 career WHL games

Hitmen Milestones:

Carson Focht needs two points for 50.

Dakota Krebs is five games away from 200.

Luke Coleman needs four goals for 50.

Jake Kryski is seven games away from 300.

Kaden Elder needs six goals for 50.

Hitmen Streaks:

Jake Kryski (2G, 4A) is on a season-high five-game point streak.

Mark Kastelic (9G, 8A) has points in seven of his last nine games.

James Malm (1G, 3A) has points in two of his last three games.

James Malm is expected to make his Hitmen debut. He will wear #28
James Malm is expected to make his Hitmen debut. He will wear #28

Hitmen

Record: 4-9-2

Goals For: 51

Goals Against: 68

Leaders:

Goals: Mark Kastelic (12)

Assists: Kastelic, Vladislav Yeryomenko (9)

Points: Mark Kastelic (21)

Powerplay Goals: Kastelic (5)

Shorthanded Goals: Kastelic (2)

Shots: Kaden Elder, Kastelic (53)

Top Goalie: Carl Stankowski, 2-5-2, 4.23 GAA, 0.864 SV%

Tigers

Record: 8-6-0-2

Goals For: 51

Goals Against: 55

Leaders:

Goals: James Hamblin (9)

Assists: Linus Nassen, Hamblin (10)

Points: Hamblin (18)

Powerplay Goals: Several Players Tied (3)

Shorthanded Goals: Several Players Tied (1)

Shots: Ryan Jevne (59)

Top Goalie: Jordan Hollett 4-6, 3.75 GAA, 0.888 SV%

Special Teams Rankings:

Hitmen

Powerplay: 11 for 57 19.3% (19th Overall)

Penalty Kill: 77.1% (14th Overall)

Tigers

Powerplay: 16 for 64 25% (4th Overall)

Penalty Kill: 81.4% (6th Overall)

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