Game Preview: Calgary vs Moose Jaw – 02.10.24
HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (22-20-6-1) get an afternoon visit today from the Moose Jaw Warriors (32-16-0-2) in a 2:00 p.m. start at Scotiabank Saddledome. It’s the fourth annual ‘Every Child Matters’ Game presented by Siksika Health Services in partnership with the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, the Blackfoot Confederacy, First Nations Health Consortium and Siksika Family Services. The Hitmen will wear their orange ‘Every Child Matters’ jerseys designed by local Indigenous artists Richard Running Rabbitt and Jacob Alexis. Those jerseys are now up for bid at elevateauctions.com/ECM with a portion of proceeds to support recovery efforts for Siksika Nation’s Deerfoot Sportsplex, which was devastated by flooding impacts from a water main break amidst the mid-January extreme cold weather event. The bidding closes on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 8:00 p.m. Highlights of today’s game include Indigenous dancers and drummers, traditional Blackfoot food at the Coca-Cola Test Kitchen and a second intermission round dance. The ‘Every Child Matters’ game is part of larger movement of the same name and is a recognition and commitment to action to ensure all children know their importance, and to honour those who attended Residential Schools in Canada, their families, and communities. This year’s theme is HOPE: Hope, Opportunity, Pathway, Empowerment, with a particular focus on youth. First Nations youth and youth of all backgrounds are our collective future; their hope is our hope. Be sure to take advantage of Hitmen Happy Hour from when doors open at 1:00 p.m. until the opening faceoff. Items include pizza, burgers, hot dogs, 14-ounce beer, highballs and 6-ounce house wine all for $6 each.
LAST GAME RECAP: Calgary is coming off last night’s 6-2 home ice triumph over Medicine Hat. Six different Hitmen tallied goals (Wyatt Pisarczyk, Ben Kindel, Carson Wetsch, Carter Yakemchuk, David Adaszynski and Oliver Tulk) while Ethan Buenaventura made 20 saves to record the win. Moose Jaw also played last night beating the Rebels 6-4 in Red Deer. Denton Mateychuk (1g, 3a) led the way with four points.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Hitmen (51pts) are tied with Lethbridge (51pts) for seventh in the Eastern Conference, one point up on ninth place Prince Albert (50pts). Moose Jaw (66pts) is third in the conference, five points ahead of Red Deer (61pts).
MOOSE JAW: Today is the third of four regular season meetings between the Hitmen and Warriors and their first in over four months. The home team is 2-0. Chase Valliant (1g, 2a) leads Calgary in the season series with three points while Keets Fawcett (2a) has two. Jagger Firkus (1g, 2a) and Lynden Lakovic (1g, 2a) are the top-performing Warriors with three points each. Calgary is 5-3 in their last eight home games against Moose Jaw. Their final meeting is one week from today back in Saskatchewan on Saturday, Feb. 17.
2023-24 SERIES RECAP
Oct. 10/23 in MJ: Warriors 5 Hitmen 3…Tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, Moose Jaw scored three unanswered goals to open the third period.
Nov. 5/23 in CGY: Hitmen 2 Warriors 1…The Hitmen fired 50 shots on goal.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CGY 85 MJ 59 Power Plays: CGY 2-8 (25%) MJ 3-9 (33.3%)
STREAKIN’: Wyatt Pisarczyk (1g, 3a) is on a four-game point streak while Ben Kindel (1g, 7a) has points in three consecutive games. Oliver Tulk (3g, 6a), Reese Hamilton (7a) and Ethan Moore (2g, 2a) all have points in four of their last five games. Keets Fawcett (8g, 11a) has points in 11 of his last 13 games. Ethan Buenaventura has won seven of his last eight starts.
CHASING HISTORY: Carter Yakemchuk enters today tied with Jake Bean for the franchise record for most goals in a single season by a defenceman with 24. Yakemchuk hit the 24-goal mark last night against Medicine Hat while Bean scored 24 times in the 2015-16 season.
FAST FACTS: The Hitmen are 9-3-3 in their last 15 games and 11-5-3-1 in their last 20…Today is Calgary’s six games in nine days and for the Warriors their fifth game in nine days…Only four other teams in the WHL have scored more goals on home ice this season than Calgary. The Hitmen are averaging 4.5 goals per game at the ‘Dome…Carter Yakemchuk has become the first Hitmen skater to eclipse 200 shots this season. He had five last night against the Tigers and now has 202.
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? The Hitmen established a new season best last night holding the Central Division leading Tigers to just 22 shots on goal. Calgary’s previous low was 23 set on Feb. 3 in Lethbridge.
DID YOU KNOW? The Hitmen are 16-7-2-1 on home ice this season including a 4-1-1 record in their last six on ‘Dome ice…Moose Jaw is 13-8-0-1 on the road…Since the Jan. 10 WHL Trade Deadline, Calgary is 7-3-1…Calgary has 19 games remaining in their 68-game regular season schedule. Counting today there are eight remaining at home and 11 on the road…The Hitmen have outshot their opponent in four consecutive games.
DRAW DOMENANCE: Last night the Hitmen went 73.3% in the face-off circle, winning 44 times compared to just 16 for Medicine Hat.
WHL TOP-10: Carter Yakemchuk leads the league in goals among defencemen with 24 while his 53-points rank third among blueliners… Goaltender Ethan Buenaventura is fifth in the WHL in saves with 1,104 and sixth in minutes played at 2,083…Ben Kindel is fifth in rookie scoring with 45 points while Keets Fawcett is tied for seventh with 37.
MAYFAIR DIAGNOSTICS INJURY REPORT: Chase Valliant (Upper Body, Week-to-Week).
POST-GAME AUTOGRAPHS: Meet goaltender Ethan Buenaventura and defenceman Dax Williams after today’s game against Moose Jaw. Both players will be signing autographs at the Hitmen Booster Club table located behind section 212.
NHL RADAR: Five Hitmen are on NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term Rankings for the 2024 NHL Draft among North American skaters. Carter Yakemchuk is sixth, Carson Wetsch 44th, Keets Fawcett 163rd, Chase Valliant 195th and Dax Williams 211th. Both Yakemchuk and Wetsch played in 2024 CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Moncton, NB.
WHL CAREER MILESTONES: Maxim Muranov is one assist shy of 50 while Tyson Greenway is three points away from 100. Greenway collected his 50th career assist last night against Medicine Hat. Ethan Buenaventura eclipsed 2,500 saves on Wednesday against Regina.
UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen open a stretch of five straight games on the road on Tuesday, Feb. 13 when they visit the Rebels in Red Deer for a 7:00 p.m. start. Calgary will then play in Brandon (Feb. 16), Moose Jaw (Feb. 17) and Regina (Feb. 19) before their final stop in Edmonton (Feb. 21). Their next home game isn’t until Friday, Feb. 23 when the Wenatchee Wild make their first-ever visit to Scotiabank Saddledome at 7:00 p.m.