The scene has shifted from Southern Alberta to Southern Manitoba as the Calgary Hitmen meet the Brandon Wheat Kings on Sunday for Game 3 of their Best-of-Seven Eastern Conference Quarter-Final Series. Radio Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan starts at 4:00 p.m. (Mountain Daylight Time) with a one hour pre-game show.
After a 6-2 win by Brandon in Game 1, Calgary responded with a 4-0 victory in Game 2 to essentially turn this into a best of five.
Game 3 goes today in Winnipeg at the MTS Centre due to a building conflict in Brandon. “The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair”, one of Western Canada’s largest agricultural events and the largest annual event in Brandon has taken over the home of the Wheat Kings, Westman Place. So all home games this series for Brandon will be played in the home of the NHL’s Jets.
SERIES RECAP: Through two games the best-of-seven series is tied 1-1 while both teams have scored six goals each.
-Game 1: Brandon 6 Calgary 2. After Mark Stone snapped a 2-2 tie with less than four minutes remaining in the second period the Wheat Kings never looked back scoring four straight.
-Game 2: Calgary 4 Brandon 2. Trevor Cheek picked up his first career playoff hat-trick while Brandon Glover made 20 saves for hist first career post season shutout.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on goal: Cal 77 Bdn 52 Powerplays: Cal 2-6 (33.3%) Bdn 0-4 (0%)
SERIES TRENDS: The team scoring first has won both games….Neither team has given up the lead….Brandon has dressed the same line-up in both games.
PUCKS TO THE NET: Trevor Cheek led the Hitmen with eight shots on goal in Game 2. He tops Calgary with 15 shots in the series. Jimmy Bubnick and Alex Roach are next with seven. Dominick Favreau had three shots for Brandon in Game 2 to lead all Wheat Kings. In the series Alessio Bertaggia sits on top with eight.
AN INJECTION OF YOUTH: Jake Virtanen has played both games for Calgary. He’s the first 15 year-old to appear in the playoffs for the Hitmen since Alex Plante patrolled the blueline in the 2005 post season.
BOWMAN’S IMPACT: Collin Bowman leads all WHL defencemen in scoring with four points (4a) during the 2012 post season. He’s also tied for eighth overall in playoff scoring. The 20-year-old was named Calgary’s Top Defenceman during the regular season and was an October trade acquisition from the Moose Jaw Warriors. Tonight’s Game 3 will be Bowman’s 50th career playoff game.
STREAKIN’: Three Hitmen have points in back-to-back games to start the series: Collin Bowman (4a), Alex Roach (1g 2a) and Alex Gogolev (1g 1a).
PLAYOFF RECORD: Calgary has a lifetime playoff record of 109-75. The Hitmen have competed in 33 series prior to this one and have won 22 and lost 11. Calgary is 18-15 in post season overtime games.
PRE-GAME CEREMONIES: There will be a special ceremonial puck drop prior to Game 3 tonight involving Jets captain and former Calgary Hitmen sniper Andrew Ladd along with former Wheat King and current Jets forward Eric Fehr.
Game 4 Mar 27 Calgary vs. Brandon at Winnipeg 7:00 PM CDT
Game 5 Mar 29 Calgary vs. Brandon at Winnipeg 7:00 PM CDT
* Game 6 Apr 1 Brandon at Calgary 4:00 PM MDT
* Game 7 Apr 3 Brandon at Calgary 7:00 PM MDT