3Riley Stotts
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/Calgary Hitmen

Hitmen Report: Looking for a win

The Calgary Hitmen kicked off their season last week. Despite several decent performances, the Western Hockey League club is still looking for their first victory of the 2018-19 season.

The week that was

Last Saturday: 5-3 loss in Kootenay

The Hitmen scored first, but allowed the next four goals. They rallied back to make it a 4-3 game, but allowed a late goal that gave the ICE a comfortable win. 2019 NHL Draft prospect Peyton Krebs had a goal and an assist, while 2020 NHL Draft prospect Connor McClennon had two goals. Jake Kryski scored two goals for the Hitmen.

Friday: 4-3 loss in Red Deer

Once again the Hitmen scored first, but allowed a couple goals to get down in the game and were chasing the rest of the way. Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists for Red Deer, while Zach Huber, Layne Toder and Hunter Campbell scored for the Hitmen.

Saturday: 6-3 loss to Edmonton

The Hitmen got off to a very slow start in their home opener, with the Oil Kings getting out to a 4-0 lead at one point. The Hitmen tried to claw back in the third but couldn’t quite make a game of it. Oil Kings goalie Dylan Myskiw made 41 saves and 2020 NHL Draft prospects Carter Souch (two goals, one assist) and Jake Neighbours (one goal, one assist) led the way offensively. Kryski had another two goals for the Hitmen.

Sunday: 6-5 overtime loss to Red Deer

The tale of this one was a Hitmen squad that just kept blowing leads. They led 1-0, 2-1, 4-2 and 5-3 at various points, but just couldn’t hold onto leads at all. Jeff de Wit and Reese Johnson each had two goals for Red Deer, while Hagel had four points. Mark Kastelic had a pair of goals in the loss. Tristen Nielsen was tossed from the game for a scary hit from behind on a Rebels player (and has subsequently been given a three-game suspension).

Looking ahead to next week

The Hitmen have two games this upcoming weekend where they’ll try to get into the win column. They face a big test on Friday night at the Saddledome when they face the Saskatoon Blades – it’s a 7 p.m. MT start and I’ll be helping out on colour commentary on the Sportsnet 960 The Fan broadcast.

And the weekend caps off with another tough matchup when the Hitmen host the Prince Albert Raiders on holiday Monday at 2 p.m. MT – the Raiders are currently fourth in the Canadian Hockey League national ranking.