Five goals was not enough for the Calgary Hitmen on Sunday afternoon, as the Saskatoon Blades managed to come up with just one more, recording the 6-5 win.
“I think we had a lot of confidence coming into tonight and there’s not many times you score five goals and lose a game. I think we battled hard but in the end we still have to find a way to come up with the two points,” said Brady Brassart, who managed an assist in the losing effort.
Calgary matched the Eastern Conference leader play-for-play early on and competed until the final buzzer.
“We have been playing really well it was a big game tonight against a good team and it would have been a big win,” commented assistant coach, Brent Kisio.
The Hitmen emerged with firepower on the first powerplay of the game, as they bombarded Saskatoon’s star Russian netminder, Andrey Makarov with 7 shots.
Minutes later, Saskatoon took full advantage of their first quality scoring opportunity when Jake Trask reaped the benefits of a Calgary turnover in front of their own net and flipped it in.
“I thought we played hard, we just had mental breakdowns at times that cost us goals,” added Kisio.
Calgary answered back as Cody Sylvester rifled a one-timer off a solid pass by Jimmy Bubnick.
The Hitmen kept the Blades at bay for the remainder of the period, with Joe Kornelsen adding one more for the Hitmen, as he cashed in on a gift-wrapped pass in front of the crease by Danny Gayle.
Defensive miscues on both sides allowed for a scoring tug-of-war in the second period. Just when the Hitmen thought they had the upper hand, the Blades countered with a goal of their own. With no team able to get a two goal lead, the second frame ended with a 5-5 score.
“It’s tough going back and forth, goal for goal. When you score a goal, the next shift is the biggest shift and you have to try and keep the momentum up because you know they are going to send there best line to gain momentum back,” added Brassart. “Obviously we didn’t have those shifts today.”
The lone goal of the third period would stand up as the game winner as Blades’ Lukas Sutter skated hard to the net, scooped up a pass by Michael Burns and slid it through Driedger.
Captain Cody Sylvester marked his 200th career game with three points (2g 1a) while Jimmy Bubnick netted one goal and chipped in two helpers for Calgary.
Calgary’s offense continues to show progress, scoring 18 goals over the past three games. The Hitmen maintained an outshooting trend, firing 46 shots to Saskatoon’s 30.
Hitmen captain, Cody Sylvester acknowledged this offensive push, “That was our goal going into the last couple of games here is just throw everything at the net, across the net, maybe get a couple greasy goals and obviously it’s been paying off,” said Sylvester “On this next road trip we have just got to work hard and keep throwing pucks at the net.”
Blades are 8-0-0-0 against the Central Division teams this season. They have defeated each team once, with having handled the Rebels and Hitmen twice.
Calgary, now 10-10-1-1 on the season, hits the road to take on East and Central Division rivals starting in Brandon on Tuesday, November 22, followed by stops in Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Edmonton. The Hitmen return to Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday, December 2, when they host the Spokane Chiefs. Puck drop is 7:00 p.m. for the Canada Safeway Ltd. Movember game.