The Calgary Hitmen (37-23-2-1) host the Swift Current Broncos (23-33-2-7) tonight at Scotiabank Saddledome. Game time is 7:00 p.m. The Hitmen, winners of five of their last six, are coming off Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Kelowna. The Broncos last played Saturday falling 5-2 in Moose Jaw and are 0-1-0-2 in their last three.
Calgary enters play fourth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference with 77 points, four back of third place Medicine Hat and just a single point up on fifth place Kootenay. Swift Current has been mathematically eliminated from the playoff chase with 54 points and is looking to play spoiler.
Tonight is the fourth and final regular season meeting between the two clubs. Calgary leads the season series 3-0. Cody Sylvester tops the Hitmen with six points (2g 4a) against the Broncos. Victor Rask is next with five (4g 1a). Taylor Vause (2g), Ryon Moser (1g 1a) and Adam Lowry (2a) all have two points each for Swift Current.
-Oct. 16 in CAL: Hitmen 5 Broncos 1. Alex Gogolev and Brady Brassart both scored twice. Jimmy Bubnick chipped in three assists.
-Oct. 18 in SC: Hitmen 7 Broncos 1. Victor Rask scored his first career WHL hat-trick.
-Nov. 8 in SC: Hitmen 4 Broncos 3 in a shootout. Brooks Macek scored the shootout winner.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on goal: CAL 106 SC 90 Powerplays: CAL 6-12 (50%) SC 2-13 (15.4%)
STREAKIN’: Victor Rask (4g 3a) is on a six game point scoring streak, tying his career high. Alex Gogolev (1g 2a) has points in three straight. Brandon Glover has won his last two starts stopping 48 of 52 shots for a .923 save percentage. On the Swift Current side Richard Nedomlel (1g 1a) and Taylor Vause (2a) both have points in back-to-back games. Jon Groenheyde has made eight straight starts in the Broncos net.
POST CHRISTMAS RUN: Calgary dropped their first game after the Christmas Break in Prince George, since that time in their last 28 games they have gone 20-7.
DID YOU KNOW? Calgary’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is three. Any combination of Hitmen wins combined with Red Deer losses totaling three and Calgary officially clinches a berth in the 2012 post season.
ROOKIE WATCH: Tonight’s game features four of the top rookies in the Western Hockey League. For Calgary, Victor Rask (51pts) and Alex Gogolev (48pts) are fifth and seventh respectively in rookie scoring. For Swift Current, Coda Gordon (50pts) and Graham Black (39pts) are sixth and 10th in WHL rookie scoring.
Jimmy Bubnick 29g 34a 63pts
Cody Sylvester 20g 42a 62pts
Victor Rask 27g 24a 51pts
Brady Brassart 21g 30a 51pts
Taylor Vause 34g 41a 75pts
Coda Gordon 28g 22a 50pts
Brad Hoban 17g 27a 44pts
#9, Jaynen Rissling, Lower body, day to day
#11, Brooks Macek, Upper body, 1 week
#19, Calder Brooks, Upper body, day to day
#5, Jordan Evans, Upper body, 1 month+
#13, Shea Howorko, Upper body, week to week
#17, Adam Lowry, Upper body, 2-3 weeks