An unlikely offensive hero emerged for the Calgary Hitmen as defenceman Peter Kosterman unloaded a slapshot from the left circle for the game-winning marker in a 4-2 decision.
“I looked on the replay, and I guess it did look pretty nice but all I was doing was trying to get it on net,” described Kosterman on his second goal of the season.
The Sunday afternoon victory improves Calgary’s record to 14-5-1-2, regaining the Central Division lead.
The Hitmen continue to gain momentum against East Division opponents, now 5-0-0-1 this season. Over the last five seasons, Calgary has now posted a 14-3 record against Swift Current.
Hitmen captain, Cody Sylvester, opened up scoring in a big way. Sylvester emerged from behind the net, weaved his way around Bronco’s Tanner LeSann and tucked the puck around the pad of Eetu Laurikainen. The highlight reel goal was Sylvester’s team-leading 14th of the season.
“That was something, I was on the point and was just like ‘wow’,” expressed Kosterman. “Sylvester is just one of those guys who shows up every night and is such a great leader.”
While the second period went scoreless, the third frame more than made up for the offensive shortage.
Ukrainian import, Pavlo Padakin made the best out of a shorthanded situation, picking up a Broncos miscue at the top of the circle and shoveled it through on the backhand.
Only 39 seconds ticked by before the Broncos came up with one of their own. Graham Black went end-to-end, dishing it off to Levi Bews, and capped off the play as he drove to the front of the net and fielded the returning pass.
The Hitmen lead was completely wiped away just over halfway through the final frame as Black received a fortunate deflection off the leg of an official, and snuck the puck inside the goal post.
Exactly two minutes after Black netted his second of the game, Kosterman unleashed a howitzer from along the sideboards finding it’s way through four bodies and over the trapper of the Broncos netminder.
The goal would stand as the game winner, as Pavlo Padakin deposited an empty netter to solidify the 4-2 win.
As the leading scorer versus the Broncos last season (6g,2a), the return of Victor Rask to the Hitmen lineup was fitting. In his first WHL game of the season, he added an assist on Kosterman’s go-ahead marker.
Rask, selected by the Hitmen in the first round, third overall, in the 2011 CHL Import Draft, tallied 63 points (33g, 30a) in 64 games during his 2011-12 rookie campaign. He also collected a gold medal, as part of Team Sweden in last year’s World Junior Championship.
“It’s great to have him back, it will take it a little bit of time to adjust just because it is a different pace and style of game,” commented bench boss, Mike Williamson on the welcome addition. “It gives us so much more depth.”
Chris Driedger made 21 saves in the Hitmen net as Calgary outshot Swift Current 32-23.
Calgary will now face the Lethbridge Hurricanes in a home-and-home series, starting Tuesday, Nov. 20 at the Enmax Centre and concluding Wednesday, Nov. 21 at the Scotiabank Saddledome, with a 7 p.m. puck drop. Tickets for upcoming Hitmen games are available at all Ticketmaster locations as well as the Scotiabank Saddledome box office. Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000. For more information on tickets, including the Sunday Ticket Pack and Name Your Game Flex Package, contact customer service at 403-777-4646.