Playoff Game Day: Calgary Hitmen at Red Deer Rebels

 

Keep your eyes on Alex Roach and Mathew Dumba

 
 
 
 
Calgary Hitmen D-man Alex Roach has been a force in the playoffs and will be key against Red Deer on Monday night.
 

Calgary Hitmen D-man Alex Roach has been a force in the playoffs and will be key against Red Deer on Monday night.

Photograph by: Edward Tsang, Edward Tsang

Calgary Hitmen at Red Deer Rebels

Hitmen lead Western Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal 2-0

Game 3 on Monday, 7 p.m., ENMAX Centrium

THE HITMEN

KEEP YOUR EYE ON

D ALEX ROACH

The L.A. Kings prospect has one of the deadliest shots in the league. He hasn’t been afraid to use it, either playing in his second (and probably last) bout of WHL playoffs. With a goal and an assist in two games (along with a plus-six rating, not only is Roach’s offensive touch useful, he needs to continue to be a terrifying force on the Hitmen blueline.

DEPTH CHART

C. Sylvester B. Brassart J. Virtanen

G. Chase V. Rask B. Macek C. Mayor C. Brooks C. Lang/A. Calladine

E. Peterson C. Clayton Z. Jones

J. Rissling S. Humphries

A. Roach J. Zgraggen

P. Kosterman C. Harmsworth C. Driedger

M. Shields

THE INJURIES

D Kenton Helgesen (hand), RW Pavlo Padakin (knee)

THE REBELS

KEEP YOUR EYE ON

D MATHEW DUMBA

No doubt Rebels head coach Brent Sutter has challenged the Minnesota Wild prospect and Calgary native to be better. Given the skill of Calgary’s forwards (and their propensity to be in the face of goalie Patrik Bartosak constantly), Dumba needs to take care of traffic. The hard-hitting defenceman is capable of laying down the law and, no doubt, will do so tonight.

DEPTH CHART

T. Elson B. Maxwell R. Dieno

D. Volek J. Hamilton M. Bellerive

T. Ness W. Johnson J. DePape

C. Millette C. Bleackley C. Thiel

B. Gaudet M. Dumba

H. Fleury B. Underwood

D. Fafard K. Doetzel

P. Bartosak

B. Pouliot

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Setting the tone: Calgary opened the first two games of this second-round series with two gutsy performances at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Which, of course, is exactly what they set out to do. But immediately following Game 2’s 2-0 win on Friday (in front of a national audience on Sportsnet’s Friday Night Hockey), they were thinking about the future. “This was a huge two games for us to get at home,” said forward Greg Chase afterwards. “We know Red Deer plays really well at home. They’ve got a loud rink, great support from their fans. Going into Game 3, we’ve gotta play the exact same way as we did (in Games 1 and 2 at Calgary).”

2. Quick draw: When Hitmen winger Elliott Peterson scored 47 seconds into Friday’s Game 2, no one was the least bit surprised. After all, Calgary has made a habit of getting on the board early. In Game 1 against Swift Current, Brooks Macek scored 34 seconds in, which was the seventh time this season he’s scored less than a minute into a game.

3. Padakin sidelined: Pavlo Padakin became Calgary’s second casualty of the playoffs when he suffered a knee injury as a result of a hit from Rebels winger Matt Bellerive during the second period of Friday’s Game 2. The Hitmen announced that the import Ukrainian would be sidelined four to six weeks. Either hard-working 16-year-old Chase Lang or former Saskatoon Contacts winger Austin Calladine will draw into the lineup for the rest of the series.

4. Poor power-play: Both teams weren’t great in this area on Friday, especially Red Deer that went 0-for-6 on the man advantage. Meanwhile, Calgary was 0-for-5 and let a five-on-three slide unproductively as well as a five-minute major (the infamous Matt Bellerive kneeing call which had Rebels head coach Brent Sutter fuming).

5. Road rockstars: During the regular season, the Hitmen had one of the league’s best records away from the Scotiabank Saddledome. Against the Swift Current Broncos in the opening round, however, they dropped Game 3 3-2 in overtime when the series shifted to Saskatchewan. Arguably, it was their worst game of the post-season so far (and it still wasn’t even that bad as they made a comeback and scored late in the third to send the clash into overtime). During the regular season series, the Hitmen captured victories against the Rebels at Red Deer on Sept 21 (3-2) and 2-1 (Dec. 12) but dropped a shoot-out decision (4-3) on Oct. 27 (before Sutter took over).

 
 
 
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Calgary Hitmen D-man Alex Roach has been a force in the playoffs and will be key against Red Deer on Monday night.
 

Calgary Hitmen D-man Alex Roach has been a force in the playoffs and will be key against Red Deer on Monday night.

Photograph by: Edward Tsang, Edward Tsang

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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