Hitmen drop second straight decision to Blades
By Laurence Heinen
CALGARY, AB. – The Calgary Hitmen had trouble containing the line of Jake Trask, Curtis Hamilton and Brayden Schenn en route to an 8-4 loss to the Saskatoon Blades on Tuesday night.
Trask notched two goals and an assist for the Blades (35-10-0-2), Hamilton scored once and set up two others, while Schenn finished with a goal and a helper.
“I played with Hamilton at the World Juniors and Trask, I know what he’s all about, so we’re just trying to gain chemistry as quick as possible,” said Schenn, who played his second game with the Blades since being acquired at the trading deadline on Jan. 10 from the Brandon Wheat Kings. “It’s been pretty good so far and hopefully it continues that way.”
Cody Sylvester scored twice in the third period for Calgary (15-30-2-1), but it was too little, too late for the Hitmen, who also lost 5-1 in Saskatoon to the Blades on Saturday night.
“Saskatoon’s a great team,” acknowledged Sylvester. “We’ve got to come out every game and give it our all and we didn’t do that in the first and second. Maybe in the third we pressed a little bit, but we have to put 60 minutes (together) to win.”
Nathan MacMaster and Kris Foucault also scored for the Hitmen, while Brooks Macek chipped in with two assists.
High-scoring Saskatoon defenceman Stefan Elliott also had a goal and two assists for the Blades, while Brent Benson, Darren Dietz and Josh Nicholls added singles.
The Blades converted three of their six power-play opportunities, while the Hitmen went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
“I was embarrassed,” said Hitmen head coach Mike Williamson after the setback. “We lost so many battles in the first half of the hockey game on the boards and didn’t pay the price to get to the front of the net and let them get to the front of our net far too easily. We just sat on our heels and didn’t have a lot of guys committed.”
Steven Stanford made 26 to record the win in the Saskatoon net. Meanwhile, Calgary goalie Brandon Glover made eight saves before being relieved by Michael Snider late in the opening frame. Snider then stopped 29 of 35 shots fired his way.
Next up, the Hitmen will play three games in three nights starting with a Friday-night affair (7 p.m.) against the Wheat Kings.
“We’ve got such a huge stretch here,” noted Williamson. “I think we’ve got six games in eight nights coming up. This stretch of games can determine whether we have a chance to make playoffs or not.”
“We’ve just got to put this one behind this,” said Sylvester. “We’ve got to learn from those mistakes and correct them on Friday. We can’t take a night off. We need every point we can get.”
1. Jake Trask, Blades
2. Cody Sylvester, Hitmen
3. Curtis Hamilton, Blades
BLADES 8 at HITMEN 4
1. Saskatoon, Elliott 21 1:00
2. Saskatoon, Trask 12 (Hamilton, Schenn) 12:19
Penalties – Dziurzynski Sktn (fighting), Kosterman Cal (instigating, fighting, misconduct) 2:21, Olsen Sktn (roughing) 5:11, Benson Sktn (unsportsmanlike conduct) 18:26.
3. Saskatoon, Benson 13 (Dziurzynski) 9:12
4. Saskatoon, Dietz 4 12:43 (pp)
5. Calgary, MacMaster 10 (Kosterman, Clayton) 14:12
6. Saskatoon, Trask 13 (Siemens, Elliott) 15:54 (pp)
7. Saskatoon, Nicholls 22 (Viedensky) 18:02 (sh)
Penalties – Fisenko Cal (tripping) 10:58, Wilson Cal (holding) 15:17, Dziurzynki Sktn (roughing) 17:45.
8. Calgary, Sylvester 15 (Roach, Macek) 0:59
9. Saskatoon, Hamilton 16 (Trask, Elliott) 12:46 (pp)
10. Saskatoon, Schenn 2 (Hamilton, Thrower) 15:59
11. Calgary, Foucault 14 (Macek, Fisenko) 18:26
12. Calgary, Sylvester 16 (Gayle, Kosterman) 19:48
Penalties – Kosterman Cal (holding) 3:16, Lubin Cal (kneeing) 8:13, Zahn Sktn (tripping) 9:42, Bubnick Cal (unsportsmanlike conduct) 11:59, Dietz Sktn (roughing) 16:17.
Shots on goal by:
Saskatoon 13 17 15 – 45
Calgary 11 10 9 – 30
Goal (shots-saves) – Saskatoon: Stanford (W, 23-3-0); Calgary: Glover (10-8), Snider (L, 8-16-2) (16:05 of first) (35-29).
Power plays (goals-chances) – Sktn: 3-6; Cal: 0-5.
Referees – Tyler Adair, Ryan Thompson. Linesmen – Reid Anderson, Steve Cochrane.