Hitmen D-men score OT win
Kristen Odland, Calgary Herald
Published: Sunday, November 09, 2008
Calgary 4 - Lethbridge 3 SO
- - -
The Hitmen offence gets the credit these days, but when tapped on the shoulder, Calgary's defence proved it has the goods when it counts.
D-men Michael Stone and Alex Plante -- two of the team's NHL-hopefuls -- scored on Lethbridged Hurricanes' Juha Metsola to en route a 4-3 shootout victory Saturday night before an announced crowd of 8,134 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
"We've used Michael quite a bit in the shootout and he's been quite successful,'' said Hitmen head coach Dave Lowry, whose club downed the Kootenay Ice 5-2 in regulation 24 hours before. "And I think Alex has very good hands . . . he didn't have time to think about it because as soon as it was his turn, we told him he was going.''
With the victory, Canada's fifth-ranked Hitmen won their fourth in a row and improved their home record to 13-1 and 17-4-1 in the Western Hockey League's Central Division. The Hurricanes dropped to 9-8-0-1.
In the shootout, Stone one-timed it past Metsola and Plante backhanded his goal, but between the two, speedy forward Brandon Kozun was denied.
"I've scored twice on that in the past, I figured I'd give 'er another shot . . . I just picked the right spot and it went in,'' said Stone, a third round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Hitmen netminder Martin Jones shut down Lethbridge's Zach Boychuk and Dwight King on their attempts.
Meanwhile, a wild second period saw both teams score two goals apiece in the span of three minutes and 18 seconds.
Calgary, down 1-0 after the first period, knotted the score when assistant captain Brett Sonne made a swift give-and-go at the Hitmen blueline to Kozun who fired the puck through Metsola's five-hole at 6:04.
But before announcers finished trumpeting Kozun's 15th goal of the season, Colton Sceviour blasted a one-timer at 6:11. Sonne tied the score at 7:38, but Lethbridge went up 3-2 at 9:22 thanks to Ashton Carter's goal.
Calgary showed urgency in the third, sending the game into overtime when Ian Schultz batted in a rebound with 4:27 left.
"We were a desperate hockey club in the third period,'' said Lowry. "They came at us hard. It was a good game, it was a physical game . . . and our desperation picked up.''
Calgary's Rigby Burgart fought at 6:18 of the first with Lethbridge combatant Mitch Versteeg. Versteeg took on the Hitmen tough guy shortly after he laid out King at the Hitmen blueline.
Boychuk, an Airdrie native, scored at 10:33, tipping in Lethbridge captain Ben Wright's point shot.
With 2:57 left in the first, the Hitmen lost Ryan Fox who handed a five-minute kneeing major and was banished from the game following what looked like a knee-on-knee collision which ended Wright's night.
"I thought they hit feet,'' said Lowry. "I'll have to take a look at it. Unfortunately, there was an injury and we don't like to see that.''
The Hitmen now play four games in five nights, starting Tuesday in Swift Current.
© The Calgary Herald 2008