Hitmen light up Oil Kings
Victory pushes Calgary into top spot in WHL
Rick Northrop, For the Calgary Herald
Published: Sunday, October 19, 2008
You might say the trap appeared to be set once again.
The last time the Calgary Hitmen travelled north to face the Edmonton Oil Kings, they squandered a 3-1 lead and lost 4-3 on Sept. 20.
Heading into Sunday afternoon's contest at Rexall Place, the Oil Kings' defence had been less than noteworthy, but their offence had potted 42 goals this season, just shy of the Hitmen's total of 45.
The Oil Kings were also holding high card in the season series shots-on-goal total after two games, 65 to 60.
Ripe ground for an upset, some might say.
Not so - the Hitmen delivered a hard slap of reality in their provincial rival's face with a 7-2 victory.
Calgary's Carson McMillan storms Cam Lanigan's crease Sunday in Edmonton. The Hitmen defeated the Oil Kings 7-2.
Walter Tychnowicz/Edmonton Journal
The Hitmen (10-3) took over top spot in the Western Hockey League with the win, while the Oil Kings (5-8-1) remained last in the six-team Central Division.
"We kind of jumped out to a pretty good start and kept rolling. I wouldn't say that they sat back or anything . . . I think we took it to them for the first little bit,"said Hitmen defenceman Michael Stone, who scored twice and added an assist.
Roster moves made over the past week to meet the over-age player limit of three - Ian Duval was traded to Moose Jaw, and goaltender Dan Spence was released - haven't had a negative impact on the club.
"Off the ice they are two great guys, so it affects us off the ice. But on the ice we can't let it get to us," said Stone.
Brett Sonne, Brandon Kozun, Paul Postma, Kyle Bortis and Brendan Rowinksi also lit the lamp for the Hitmen. Tomas Vincour and Logan Proulx, on a penalty shot, replied for Edmonton.
Martin Jones stopped 27 of 29 shots for Calgary; Cam Lanigan faced 38 shots in the Oil Kings cage.
"It's definitely early in the season and we are off to a good start but we have to keep playing the way we have been," said Bortis, who was named the game's first star.
As one of three remaining overage players left on the roster, Bortis believes balance is Calgary's keystone this season.
"We work as a committee," he said. "We don't have great players, we have very good hockey players on the team who work together."
Edmonton and Calgary won't meet again until New Year's Eve at Rexall Place. The Hitmen next play Wednesday, hosting the Red Deer Rebels.
© Calgary Herald 2008