GAME PREVIEW: HITMEN VS WARRIORS
HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (23-18-5-1) close their two-game weekend this afternoon by hosting the Moose Jaw Warriors (31-16-0-3) in a 2:00 p.m. start at Scotiabank Saddledome. It’s another ‘Sunday Funday’ presented by Brookfield Residential. In addition to $2 sips and snacks specials all game long, look for concourse activities from TELUS Spark and a cast of characters outfitted by the Costume Shoppe. There are also $6 Hitmen Happy Hour food and drink deals throughout the day and the post-game RAM Family Skate. As a special addition, the entire Hitmen team will be on the concourse at section 212 for a post-game autograph signing while mascot Farley the Fox will take to the ice for the skate. Both teams are coming off games against Edmonton. The Hitmen fell 5-1 to their provincial rivals yesterday afternoon at the ‘Dome while Moose Jaw beat the Oil Kings 4-1 up in Edmonton on Friday night.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Hitmen are sixth in the Eastern Conference with 53 points sitting six back of fifth place Lethbridge and two points up on seventh place Regina. Moose Jaw occupies the 4th spot, just a single point behind Saskatoon with 65 points.
MOOSE JAW: Today is the fourth and final regular season meeting between the Hitmen and Warriors. Calgary leads the season series 2-1 despite the fact they have been outscored by a combined 13-9. Riley Fiddler-Schultz (2g, 3a) has led the way for the Hitmen with five points. Carter Yakemchuk (2g, 2a) and Tyson Galloway (4a) are next with four points each. Martin Rysavy (2g, 4a) is the top performing Warrior with six points. Ryder Korczak (4a) and Denton Mateychuk (4a) are next with four points each.
2022-23 SERIES RECAP
Dec. 4/22 in CGY: Hitmen 5 Warriors 3…Carter Yakemchuk and Riley Fiddler-Schultz both notched 1g, 2a.
Dec. 9/22 in MJ: Warriors 9 Hitmen 2…Martin Rysavy led the Warriors with two goals and three assists.
Jan. 6/23 in MJ: Hitmen 2 Warriors 1 Shootout…Zac Funk scored the game winner in round four.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CGY 114 MJ 93 Power Plays: CGY 4-11 (36.4%) MJ 3-15 (20%)
PLAYER STREAKS: Sean Tschigerl (3g, 3a) and Riley Fiddler-Schultz (1g, 4a) are both riding four-game point streaks. Carter Yakemchuk (3g, 2a) saw his three-game streak end yesterday against Edmonton while two-game streaks for Oliver Tulk (1g, 3a), Maxim Muranov (2a) and Tyson Galloway (2a) were also halted.
FAST FACTS: The Hitmen have scored at least one power play goal in three consecutive games…Calgary’s last eight goals have been scored by eight different players…Moose Jaw’s Brayden Yager (20g, 36a) is the 5th ranked North American skater for the 2023 NHL Draft…Calgary’s 39 shots yesterday against Edmonton marked the 21st time this season the Hitmen have recorded 39 or more shots in a game…In Calgary’s last three regulation losses opposition goalies have combined for a .983 save percentage stopping 113 of 115 shots…The Hitmen are 13-0-3-2 when leading after the first period while Moose Jaw is 13-2-0-3 in games decided by a single goal…Captain Riley Fiddler-Schultz is seven shots away from 200 this season. He passed 600 face-off wins yesterday against Edmonton to sit third overall in the WHL.
WHL DEBUT: Sawyer Mayes, Calgary’s second-round pick, 44th overall, in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft played his first career game yesterday against Edmonton skating on a line with Matteo Danis and Chase Valliant. This season the 15-year-old forward has been playing in the BC Elite Hockey League with the AAA U18 Thompson Blazers. In 24 games he is ninth in team scoring with 11 points (4g, 7a). A total of 29 players have now played a least a single game for the Hitmen this season.
DOWN THE STRETCH: Counting today the Hitmen have 20 games remaining in the regular season with an even split of 10 at home and 10 on their road. Twelve of those games are against teams currently above them in the standings.
SCOUTS EYE: NHL Central Scouting has released its Mid-Term Rankings for the 2023 NHL Draft. Two Hitmen have made the list as Grayden Siepmann is number 138 among North American skaters while Oliver Tulk is 211.
MAYFAIR DIAGNOSTICS INJURY REPORT: Carter MacAdams (upper body, week-to-week), Jacob Wright (lower body, day-to-day), Billal Noori (upper body, indefinitely), Carson Wetsch (lower body, week-to-week).
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Hitmen penalty kill is number one in the WHL at 85.4%. On the flip side the power play is 21st at 17%.
HOME AND AWAY COMPARISON: Calgary is 10-9-3-2 on home ice including a 1-1-2-1 record in their last five. Moose Jaw is 15-8-0-2 on the road and are 1-1 on their Alberta road trip.
REGULAR SEASON CAREER MILESTONE WATCH: Oliver Tulk is two games away from 100. David Adaszynski hit the century mark yesterday against Edmonton. Brayden Peters needs just one victory to move into a tie with Mack Shields for sixth place on the Hitmen’s all-time wins list. Shields had 57. Peters is also just 51 saves behind Martin Jones (3,374) for second place on the all-time saves list. Chris Driedger is first with 3,773. Riley Fiddler-Schultz is five assists away from 100.
HITMEN MONTH-BY-MONTH: Sept. (1-0-0-1), Oct. (5-4-1-0), Nov. (6-2-2-0), Dec. (6-4-0-0), Jan. (5-7-2-0), Feb. (0-1-0-1).
UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen will play their next five games on the road beginning with a three-game East Division trip that opens with a doubleheader in Winnipeg featuring games against the ICE on Wednesday, Feb 8 and Thursday, Feb. 9. The journey wraps up in Brandon on Saturday, Feb. 11. It is then off to Lethbridge (Feb. 15) and Edmonton (Feb. 18) before Calgary’s next home game on Sunday, Feb. 19 against the Kamloops Blazers at Seven Chiefs Sportsplex. Game time is 2:00 p.m.