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Photo Credit: Candice Ward/Calgary Hitmen

Hitmen Report: losing two out of three ain’t great

The Calgary Hitmen played three home games over the past week, hoping to make up ground in the divisional playoff race. Unfortunately, some inconsistent play at key times crept up on them and saw them drop two close games and win just once during the week.

The week that was

Saturday was Bret “The Hitmen” Hart Night at the Saddledome as the Hitmen hosted the Saskatoon Blades. While it wasn’t quite as one-sided as Saskatoon’s last visit – they scored nine goals in that one – but the Hitmen never had a lead in this one, trailing 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. They got goals from Blake Allan and captain Mark Kastelic, but dropped a 3-2 decision. Washington Capitals prospect Eric Florchuk had two goals for the win. Jack McNaughton got the start and took the loss.

On Sunday the Hitmen got back at it and got an early lead for once. But despite leading 1-0 and 2-1, they couldn’t hold on in the third period. They allowed the game-winning goal by David Kope with just 55 seconds remaining in regulation. They received goals from Vancouver Canucks prospect Carson Focht and James Malm. Rookie netminder Brayden Peters got the start and took the loss.

On Wednesday, the Hitmen faced a huge test in the defending Western Hockey League champion (and top WHL team this season) the Prince Albert Raiders. But the Hitmen were full marks, not really deflating when they got down. They trailed 2-1 entering the third period, but received two goals from Orca Wiesblatt to take the lead and an empty-netter from Philadelphia Flyers prospect Egor Zamula to seal the 4-2 win. Jonas Peterek had the other goal, while 2020 NHL Draft prospect Luke Prokop had two assists. Peters got the start and was superb in the win. (Ozzy Wiesblatt, Orca’s younger brother and a 2020 NHL Draft prospect, was excellent for the Raiders in the loss.)

The week ahead

The Hitmen head into the weekend with a 9-5-1, good for fourth in the WHL’s Central Division. They’ve played between two and four fewer games than the teams ahead of them in the standings. They finish off their home stand on Friday night when they host the Tri-City Americans. Then the head up the highway for a rematch with the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Saturday night.

The game in Edmonton is the first game of a stretch that sees them play six games on the road over three weeks. Their next home date after Friday night isn’t until Nov. 29 when they host Regina.

Teddy Bear Toss

The Teddy Bear Toss is Sun., Dec. 1 when the Hitmen host Red Deer. It’s awesome. Get tickets now before you forget and they sell out.