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Calgary Hitmen Game Preview - Friday, February 9 at Medicine Hat

February 9, 2018 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Calgary Hitmen News Release

CALGARY HITMEN (16-30-5-2, 39 pts.) at MEDICINE HAT TIGERS (27-22-7-0, 61 pts.)

Friday, February 9, 2018 - 7:30 p.m. MT - Canalta Centre

TODAY'S GAME

The Calgary Hitmen wrap up a season-high seven-game road trip tonight in Medicine Hat against the Tigers. Calgary has points in back-to-back games (1-0-0-1) and is coming off Wednesday's 3-2 shootout loss in Red Deer. Kristian Reichel scored the game winner while Mason McCarty and Chris Douglas counted goals in regulation for the Rebels. Conner Chaulk and Tristen Nielsen, both with their 11th goals of the season, replied for the Hitmen. Nielsen's marker, shorthanded with 4:57 left in the second period, forced overtime. Goaltenders Nick Schneider for Calgary and the Rebels' Ethan Anders turned in strong performances. Schneider was the first star making 38 saves while Anders was named the third star after recording 29 stops. The Hitmen, at 39 points, are 10 points back of Kootenay for a Central Division playoff spot. Medicine Hat leads the division with 61 points, five points ahead of Lethbridge. The Tigers also last played on Wednesday and blanked the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings 6-0.

HITMEN BROADCAST INFORMATION

Radio: Sportsnet.ca/960 (Alt Stream)

Webcast: WHL Live at whl.neulion.com

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STREAKS

- Tristen Nielsen (2g, 3a) is on a three-game point streak.

- Conner Chaulk (2g), Carson Focht (2a) and Andrew Viggars (2a) all have points in two of their last three contests.

NOTEWORTHY

VS. MEDICINE HAT: Tonight is the fourth of six regular season meetings between the two Central Division rivals. Calgary is 1-1-1-0 against the Tigers. Mark Kastelic (1g, 4a) leads the Hitmen with five points against Medicine Hat. Jakob Stukel (3g, 1a) is next with four. Mark Rassell (4g, 2a) is the top-performing Tiger with six points in the season series. Jaeger White (2g, 1a), David Quenneville (1g, 2a) and the departed Max Gerlach (3g) are all next with three points each. Calgary is 3-5-1-1 in their last 10 visits to Medicine Hat.

2017-18 SERIES RECAP

Nov. 10/17 at CGY: MH 4 CGY 2...The Tigers erased deficits of 1-0 and 2-1.

Nov. 11/17 at MH: MH 4 CGY 3 OT...Max Gerlach scored the winner with 6.5 seconds remaining.

Jan. 3/18 at CGY: CGY 4 MH 3 OT...Riley Stotts scored the winner 47 seconds into the extra session.

INSIDE THE SERIES

Shots on Goal: CGY 96 MH 92 Power Plays: CGY 3-14 (21.4%) MH 3-10 (30%)

INSIDE THE ROAD TRIP: Tristen Nielsen (3g, 3a) leads all Hitmen on this season-high seven-game road trip with six points in six games. Luke Coleman (3g, 1a) and Jakob Stukel (4g) are next with four points each. Riley Stotts (3a) and Mark Kastelic (1g, 2a) have three points each while Jake Kryski (2a), Carson Focht (2a) and Andrew Viggars (2a) have two. Seven others have recorded a single point: Hunter Campbell (1g), Conner Chaulk (1g), Dakota Krebs (1g), Vladislav Yeryomenko (1a), Orca Wiesblatt (1a), Egor Zamula (1g) and Cael Zimmerman (1a).

WHAT'S LEFT: Of Calgary's 19 remaining regular season games, 11 are at home with eight on the road.

SCORING RACE: Jakob Stukel (41) and Jake Kryski (37) are only four parts apart for the team scoring lead. The last time two Hitmen shared the points lead at the end of the season was 2013-14 when Brady Brassart and Greg Chase both recorded 85 points.

NHL WATCH: NHL Central Scouting has named four Hitmen among the top players available for the 2018 NHL Draft. Vladislav Yeryomenko, Riley Stotts, Egor Zamula and Carson Focht are all on the midterm rankings among North American skaters. Yeryomenko is number 79, Stotts 88, Zamula 100 and Focht 200. The 2018 NHL Draft will be held June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

THE OLYMPIC FIVE: Former Hitmen star Brandon Kozun has been named to the Canadian men's hockey team for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Kozun, who played parts of four seasons in Calgary from 2006 to 2010, is fourth on the Hitmen's all-time regular season points list with 270. Meanwhile four other Hitmen alumni will also play in the tournament: Bostjan Golicic with Slovenia, Freddie Petterson with Sweden, Brooks Macek with Germany and Alex Plante with Korea. The preliminary round begins Feb. 14 with the gold-medal game on Feb. 25.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Calgary's power play is 18th in the WHL at 18.8%. The penalty kill is tied for 12th in the league at 78.6% while their 11 shorthanded goals scored rank seventh overall.

WORK HORSE: Goaltender Nick Schneider has started 47 of Calgary's 53 games. He leads the WHL in minutes played with 2,649 while his 1,258 saves rank fourth.

DID YOU KNOW?: Hitmen sophomore Vladislav Yeryomenko is in a three-way tie for 20th in league scoring by a defenceman with Red Deer's Alexander Alexeyev and Artyom Minulin of Swift Current. All three players have 31 points.

INJURY REPORT: Heading into today, the Hitmen have lost a combined 137 man games to injury this season. Counting the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (Jackson van de Leest) and 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship (Jake Bean and Vladislav Yeryomenko), the number of man games lost grows to 160.

COMMUNITY INVESTMENT: The Calgary Hitmen Foundation Community Restoration Program has announced the three finalists for its $50,000 grant. Eugene Coste School Playground Redevelopment in Haysboro, Indus Accessible Playground and Parkdale Community Outdoor Rink have been selected to create a video showing why fans should cast a ballot for their project. The online voting period will take place from February 17 - March 2 on HitmenHockey.com, with the community project receiving the most votes to be awarded the grant. The Calgary Hitmen Foundation has been giving back to education and wellness programs for over 15 years. The heart of the Foundation is the scholarship program which funds the post-secondary education of Hitmen players and alumni. In addition, support is provided to grassroots sport organizations and health initiatives. To date, the Foundation has supported Calgary and area agencies with over $2.8 million.

ALUMNI WATCH: Chase Clayton is using the WHL Scholarship and is playing men's hockey with the University of British Columbia. The 23-year-old forward is in his third campaign with the Thunderbirds and this season has 10 points (6g, 4a) in 26 games. Clayton spent parts of four seasons with the Hitmen from 2010-14 appearing in 183 games. He tallied 62 points (21g, 41a).

PROSPECT REPORT: Luke Prokop, Calgary's first-round pick in the 2017 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft is playing Midget Prep with the Northern Alberta Extreme. In 23 games, the 15-year-old defenceman has 14 points (2g, 12a). Luke has also skated in 14 games with the Hitmen recording two assists as an affiliate player. Prokop served as an assistant captain for Team Alberta in the 2017 WHL Cup and finished the tournament with a pair of helpers.

PROMO CALENDAR

Hitmen single game tickets are available at Ticketmaster and the 'Dome box office. Upcoming home game highlights include:

- Co-op Family Game on Feb. 11 vs. MH

- Valentine's Day on Feb. 14 vs. TC

- Sunday Funday presented by Pocky on Feb. 18 vs. SAS

- RE/MAX Chuck-A-Puck on Feb. 21 vs. RD

- Lunar Celebration presented by A1 Chesney Service Experts on Feb. 23 vs. EDM

- Dodge Skate with the Hitmen on Feb. 25 vs. BDN

- TELUS BE BRAVE Anti-Bullying Game on Feb. 27 vs. SC

- Multicultural Day presented by Cornerstone on Mar. 4 vs. RD

- RE/MAX Chuck-A-Puck on Mar. 14 vs. KTN

- Fan Appreciation Day presented by Vision Travel on Mar. 18

CAREER MILESTONES

- Jake Kryski needs two points for 150 and five assists for 100.

- Jakob Stukel is five games away from 250.

- Luke Coleman is three assists shy of 50.

- Matthew Armitage passed 500 minutes played on Feb. 3 in Kamloops while Riley Stotts reached career game 100 on Feb. 2 against the Giants.

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Western Hockey League Stories from February 9, 2018


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