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Calgary Herald article (Calgary Hitmen suffer Memorial Cup heartbreak)

May 22 2010 at 7:50 AM
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N. W. Bruin  (Login NW_Bruin_GM)

Calgary Hitmen suffer Memorial Cup heartbreak

By Sean Myers, Calgary Herald

May 21, 2010

Calgary Hitmen goalie Martin Jones reacts after the Brandon Wheat Kings grab the overtime winner Friday.
Photograph by: Calgary Herald, Reuters

Brandon, Man. - The return of Brandon Kozun and a stand out 43-save performance by goalie Martin Jones couldn’t lift the Calgary Hitmen to victory over their season-long rival Friday night.

The Brandon Wheat Kings finally knocked off the Hitmen in a 5-4 overtime thriller at Westman Place in front of a rapturous crowd of 5,235.

The Wheat Kings will now fight for the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup on Sunday and the Calgary Hitmen will go home.

The Hitmen built up a pair of two goal leads in the game but the Wheat Kings never stopped coming, firing 48 shots at Jones including the winner by Brandon forward Jay Fehr.

“We weren’t moving our feet, they were building off the crowd and nothing was going our way,” said Hitmen forward Del Cowan. “It was just a downhill slide, we couldn’t get a shift going our way at all.

“The thing that stings the most is when you’re playing an elimination game you always say have no regrets. I think we have quite a few of them. Other than Jonesy, there’s a few of us who could’ve played a lot better.”

Calgary co-captain Ian Schultz came out of the dressing room following the game with his shoulders shrunk, head bowed and barely able to find his voice.

“Their life was on the line just as much as ours was, the difference was they played with desperation from start to finish and we just had spurts of it,” said Schultz.

One of the team leaders, Schultz took some of the blame for leaving Jones hanging out to dry.

“We let Jonesy down tonight,” said Schultz. “He stood on his head in the first and kept us in it and gave us the opportunity to walk away with it. But we let him down in the end and it’ll take a long time to forgive myself for that.”

Hitmen centre Misha Fisenko sent the game into overtime with a squeaker that barely crossed the goal line behind Wheaties goalie Jacob De Serres at 14:48 of the third period. It was a goal so close it went to review but held.

By that point the Hitmen had been out played for most of two periods.

In overtime Wheat Kings forward Fehr wired the puck passed Jones on a nice drop pass from Toni Rajala at 3:16 to end Calgary’s season.

They had limped into the third period after being outshot 21-5 and Brandon caught up on the score board 3-3 on goals by Alex Urbom, Matt Calvert and a power play slapper by Travis Hamonic with under 11 seconds remaining.

“It was pretty brutal to say the least,” said Schultz. “We expect each other to be better. We kind of got off our game. They took it too us and then we got panicky running around. Our systems fell apart. Instead of re-grouping and going back to what works, we tried to do it on our own and I guess you see the result.

The Hitmen jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on the back of two spectacular saves by Jones

Calgary came back after his first pad save on Calvert to score two goals nine seconds apart. The first by Joel Broda and the second by Schultz.

After Urbom scored his marker in the second, Tyler Fiddler beat De Serres on a slap shot from the circle while short handed. His skate blade fell off on the play and he had to got to the dressing room to fix it.

But the Brandon pressed ripping shots at Jones while the Hitmen appeared to be froze in their zone.

“It was a tough game and a tough way to go out,” said Jones. “It’s pretty disappointing. Our goal was to get to the finals and win the Memorial Cup and to fall just short is pretty disappointing.”

NOTES: Brandon right wing Scott Glennie was moved off the top line to the third string after suffering an undisclosed injury in the game against Calgary on Wednesday. Mark Stone was shifted up with Brayden Schenn at centre and Matt Calvert on left wing. For Calgary Brandon Kozun scored two assists in his first game back from an ankle injury.

SCRATCHES: Calgary — D Jaynen Rissling (upper body), D Peter Kosterman, F Justin Kirsh, F Rigby Burgart

Brandon — F Jesse Sinatynski, F Jordan Hale, D Ryley Miller

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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