Following a period of rapid change via the trade deadline, plus a swath of home dates, the Calgary Hitmen spent the past week way out east on a road trip. Their trek to Saskatchewan and Manitoba has, thus far, been pretty fruitful.
The week that was
The Hitmen lost to their divisional rivals, the Lethbridge Hurricanes, by a 4-2 score on Friday. The ‘Canes never trailed, but the Hitmen kept rallying back to tie until Lethbridge eventually pulled away. Josh Prokop and Riley Stotts scored for Calgary, while Brayden Peters made 30 stops in a losing effort.
On Sunday the Hitmen hosted the lowly Swift Current Broncos at the ‘Dome. The Hitmen won 3-1 in a surprisingly competitive game. Orca Wiesblatt, Blake Allan and the newly-acquired Connor Gabruch scored for the home side. Peters made 24 saves for his first win of the weekend.
The Hitmen hit the road and trekked east after that win, ending up in Swift Current for a return engagement on Wednesday night. This game was pretty close, with the Hitmen eking out a 4-3 shootout win. Carson Focht scored twice and Cael Zimmerman scored the other marker. Josh Prokop had the shootout winner. Jack McNaughton made 19 saves to pick up the win.
2020 NHL Draft prospect Luke Prokop was absent from Wednesday’s game as he was in scenic Hamilton for the CHL’s Top Prospects Game. He played for Team White, the team that won, and was +1 with a shot on goal. He played on a pairing with Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds blueliner Ryan O’Rourke.
The week ahead
The Hitmen are still out east for much of this week, where they’ll play three games in three nights. They’re in Brandon on Friday to play the Wheat Kings, then head to Winnipeg for Saturday and Sunday for their first-ever dates with the Winnipeg ICE. Remember when they were in Kootenay and the Hitmen would play them every damn year in the playoffs?
The Hitmen are firmly in the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Calgary is eight points back of Lethbridge for a divisional playoff spot. They’re six points up on Saskatoon in the second wild-card spot. And they’re 17 points clear of Red Deer, trying to chase down a wild-card spot. If the playoffs began today, they’d be in a first round collision with the Edmonton Oil Kings.