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Calgary Hitmen Game Preview - Wednesday, March 6 at Medicine Hat

March 6, 2019 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Calgary Hitmen News Release

CALGARY HITMEN (35-22-5-1, 76 pts.) at MEDICINE HAT TIGERS (32-25-3-2, 69 pts.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 7:00 p.m. MT - Canalta Centre

TODAY'S GAME

The Calgary Hitmen, winners of five in a row, are on the road in Medicine Hat tonight to face the Tigers. Calgary is coming off Sunday's 6-2 victory over the visiting Kootenay ICE. Carson Focht continued his torrid scoring pace netting a hat-trick and now has 16 points (7g, 9a) in his last six games. Josh Prokop turned in a two-goal performance with Ryder Korczak rounding out the scoring. Mark Kastelic, Luke Coleman and Dakota Krebs all picked up a pair of assists. Calgary built period leads of 2-1 and 4-2 and received a 36 save performance from goaltender Carl Stankowski as Kootenay outshot Calgary 38-37. Special teams were a major driver for the home side as Calgary went 2-4 on the power play, killed seven of eight shorthanded situations and even received a shorthanded marker from Focht. During the game, the Hitmen wore limited edition jerseys designed as a Don Cherry sports jacket for RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation. Those jerseys are now up for bid at ElevateAuctions.com. The online auction closes Sunday, Mar. 10 at 8:00 p.m., with all proceeds going to the local chapter of the Kidney Foundation.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

Radio: Sportsnet.ca/960 (Alt Stream)

Webcast: WHL Live at whl.neulion.com

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STREAKS

- Carson Focht (7g, 9a) is riding a six-game point streak.

- Egor Zamula (8a), Luke Coleman (2g, 5a) and Riley Stotts (1g, 7a) all have points in each of their last five games.

- Mark Kastelic (3g, 4a) is on a four-game point streak.

- Josh Prokop (3g) and Dakota Krebs (3a) both have points in back-to-back games.

- Jack McNaughton has won his last four starts posting a 1.98 goals against average and .905 save percentage.

- James Malm (8g, 4a) saw his five-game point streak end Sunday against Kootenay.

NOTEWORTHY

VS. MEDICINE HAT: Tonight is sixth and final regular season meeting between the Hitmen and Tigers. The home team is 4-1. Calgary has won four of the five games, outscoring Medicine Hat by a combined 23-17. Mark Kastelic (6g, 3a) leads the Hitmen in the season series with nine points while Egor Zamula (2g, 6a) is next with eight. James Hamblin (1g, 6a) is the top performer for the Tigers with seven points. Calgary is 3-6-1-1 in their last 11 trips to Medicine Hat.

2018-19 SERIES RECAP

Nov. 2/18 in CGY: CGY 7 MH 5...Mark Kastelic (2g, 1a) & Jake Kryski (1g, 2a) led Calgary with three points each.

Nov. 4/18 at MH: MH 5 CGY 4 ...Tigers built period leads of 3-1 and 5-3.

Jan. 5/19 in CGY: CGY 4 MH 3...Egor Zamula led Calgary with a pair of assists.

Feb. 15/19 in CGY: CGY 3 MH 1...Calgary was 1-2 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill.

Feb. 16/19 at MH: CGY 5 MH 3... Mark Kastelic netted his second hat-trick of the season for Calgary.

INSIDE THE SERIES

Shots on Goal: CGY 193 MH 156 Power Plays: CGY 5-11 (45.5%) MH 6-18 (33.3%)

PLAYOFF CHASE: With five games to go in the regular season, Calgary is third in the Central Division sitting seven points ahead of Medicine Hat which occupies the first Eastern Conference Wildcard spot. Looking up, the Hitmen are four points behind Lethbridge for second in the division. The Hurricanes are home to Brandon tonight.

HOME AND AWAY: Calgary is 15-13-2-1 on the road this season while Medicine Hat is 17-10-2-1 at home.

RACE FOR THE TOP: The Hitmen team scoring title is going down to the wire this season as Mark Kastelic (74pts), leads James Malm (72pts) by just two points with five games left. The last time there was a tie for top scorer was the 2013-14 campaign when both Brady Brassart and Greg Chase finished with 85 points. It has happened four times in franchise history with Kyle Bortis and Ryan White both collecting with 72 points in 2007-08, Ryan White and Brodie Dupont shared the lead at 53 points in 2005-06 while Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd finished with 75 points each in 2003-04.

FAST FACTS: Including today, Calgary has two home games left in the regular season and three on the road...Since January 1, Calgary has posted a record of 25-8-3-0...The Hitmen have only been outshot twice in the last 19 games...James Malm led the Hitmen in scoring during the month of February with 19 points (7g, 12a) in 12 games.

WHL TOP 15: Mark Kastelic is third in the WHL in goals with 45 while his 23 power play markers lead the league. Egor Zamula is seventh in defencemen scoring with 53 points. Dakota Krebs is tied for 11th in plus/minus among defenceman at +25.

ROSTER MOVES: On Monday, the Hitmen returned 15-year-old prospect Zac Funk to the BCMMHL's Fraser Valley Thunderbirds. Funk leads the T-Birds in scoring with 55 points (33g, 22a) in 36 games but appeared in three games for the Hitmen recording eight shots on goal. Funk was taken by Calgary in the second round, 43rd overall, in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. The transaction leaves the Hitmen with seven defencemen, two goalies and 13 forwards.

HITMEN MONTH-BY-MONTH: September (0-3-1-0), October (4-6-1-0), November (6-5-0-1), December (6-2-1-0), January (9-3-0-0), February (7-3-2-0), March (3-0-0-0).

DID YOU KNOW?: Mark Kastelic is the first Hitmen player to score 45 goals in a season since Adam Tambellini reached 47 in 2014-15. Prior to Tambellini, Joel Broda scored 53 goals in 2008-09. Kastelic's 86 career markers have him 14th on the clubs all-time goal scoring list, trailing Brett Sonne by three goals for 13th spot. Brad Moran holds the franchise record with 204.

MAYFAIR DIAGNOSTICS INJURY REPORT: Jake Kryski (indefinite, upper body). Hunter Campbell (indefinite, lower body), Cael Zimmerman (day-to-day, upper body).

CAREER YEARS: With 7.4 percent of the regular seasons schedule remaining, 11 Hitmen have set new career highs in point totals. Their previous best is in brackets: Mark Kastelic 74pts (45), James Malm 72pts (66), Kaden Elder 57pts (32), Carson Focht 58pts (33), Riley Stotts 55pts (44), Egor Zamula 53pts (18), Cael Zimmerman 25pts (18), Dakota Krebs 24pts (16), Jackson van de Leest 20pts (5), Hunter Campbell 13pts (11) and Layne Toder 13pts (10).

PROSPECT WATCH: Sheldon Kwiatkowski, Calgary's third-round pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft is in the Alberta Midget Hockey League with the Grande Prairie AAA Storm. The 16-year-old has 36 points (16g, 20a) in 34 games. He has also appeared in five games with the AJHL's Whitecourt Wolverines recording one assist.

UPCOMING GAMES

All times in MT. Schedule subject to change.

DATE OPPONENT TIME BROADCAST

Mar. 8 vs. Edmonton 7:00 p.m. Sportsnet 960-The Fan

Mar. 9 at Lethbridge 7:00 p.m. Sportsnet 960-The Fan

Mar. 16 at Edmonton 2:00 p.m. Sportsnet.ca/960 (Alt Stream)

Mar. 17 vs. Edmonton 2:00 p.m. Sportsnet 960-The Fan

PROMO CALENDAR

Upcoming home game highlights include:

- One Ticket, One Tree on Mar. 8 vs. EDM. For each game day and group ticket sold, the Hitmen will plant a tree for reforestation projects in the province.

- Hitmen Player Awards, Fan Appreciation and Sunday Funday presented by Ricky's All Day Grill on Mar. 17 vs. EDM

CAREER MILESTONE WATCH

- Carson Focht is one point away from 100 and four games shy of 200.

- Vladislav Yeryomenko is four points away from 100.

- Riley Stotts needs three goals for 50.

- Jack McNaughton reached 1,000 saves on Feb. 27 against Swift Current.

- Devan Klassen scored his first career WHL goal Feb. 23 in Swift Current.

- Jackson van de Leest played game 100 in Regina on Feb. 22.


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