0Riley Stotts
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/Calgary Hitmen

Hitmen Report: In search of a goal

A week ago, the Calgary Hitmen were hoping to get their first win. Things got a bit worse for them, as they were shut out twice over the weekend.

A week of Hitmen news

The Hitmen trimmed down their roster with a pair of transactions last week. They settled on two goaltenders – starter Carl Stankowski and backup Jack McNaughton – by reassigning Matthew Armitage to a yet-to-be-determined team. Forward Orca Weisblatt was also reassigned.

Over the weekend they also moved a veteran defender to give their young blueliners more playing time. Nineteen-year-old Dom Schmiemann was sent to the Tri-City Americans for a 2019 fourth round bantam selection and a conditional 2020 draft pick.

On Wednesday night, the team also announced the Corral Series to take place in February. They’ll play three games in the historic Stampede Corral – Friday, Feb. 1 vs. Brandon, Wednesday, Feb. 6 vs. Regina and Friday, Feb. 8 vs. Prince Albert. They’ll be playing wearing vintage sweaters representing the Calgary Cowboys, Calgary Centennials and Calgary Wranglers – if you’re jonesing for a Cowboys sweater like I am, they’ll be auctioned off after the games.

The week that was

The Hitmen had a rough weekend. They continued to not win. They also struggled to score, in that they didn’t score any goals.

Friday: 3-0 loss to Saskatoon

Top 2019 NHL Draft prospect Kirby Dach had the game-winning (first) goal for the Blades and was strong all evening – Saskatoon was playing their third game in four nights. Logan Christensen had a goal and an assist and Dorrin Luding made 42 saves for the shutout. For the Hitmen, Kaden Elder had six shots and 2019 prospect Cael Zimmerman had five shots. Hitmen captain Mark Kastelic took four minors penalties.

Sunday: 4-0 loss to Prince Albert

The Raiders’ Brett Learson had two goals and an assist, while Ian Scott made 23 saves for the shutout. For the Hitmen, Kaden Elder had four shots while Dakota Krebs took three minor penalties.

Looking ahead to next week

The Hitmen head into this week as one of two winless WHL clubs with a 0-5-1 record – Swift Current, last year’s WHL champions, are 0-6-0.

They host the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday night at the Saddledome, then welcome the Regina Pats to town on Sunday night. Tristen Nielsen will be eligible to play on Sunday after serving a three-game suspension. After the weekend, the Hitmen kick off a five-game road trip that begins Tuesday in Prince Albert and Wednesday in Saskatoon.