GAME PREVIEW: CALGARY VS MOOSE JAW
HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (18-19-5-2) open a four game homestand tonight against the Moose Jaw Warriors (27-17-3-2). Game time is 7:00 p.m. MT at Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina Nation. The move out of Scotiabank Saddledome was required to allow for the rescheduling of the NHL contest between the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks. The Seven Chiefs Sportsplex is no stranger to Hitmen hockey as the building was also the home venue for the Hitmen during last season’s COVID-19 shortened season which saw the club play 10 games on Tsuut’ina Nation. The Hitmen have been idle since Sunday’s 4-1 loss in Moose Jaw where Riley Fiddler-Schultz notched the lone goal for Calgary. The Warriors are coming off last night’s 1-0 shootout loss in Lethbridge. The Hitmen are seventh in the Eastern Conference with 43 points, six points back of Brandon for sixth while Moose Jaw is fourth with 59 points, two points behind Red Deer for third. The top eight teams in each conference make the playoffs.
FAST FACTS: Calgary’s last 10 goals have been scored by 10 different players in Riley Fiddler-Schultz, Cael Zimmerman, Zac Funk, Blake Stevenson, Brandon Whynott, Sean Tschigerl, Grayden Siepmann, Blake Allan, Oliver Tulk and Steel Quiring….The Hitmen are 8-7-1-1 against the East Division.
VS MOOSE JAW: Tonight is the fifth of six regular season meetings. Moose Jaw has taken three of their four battles by a combined score of 17-11. Calgary has dropped three straight to the Warriors after having won the previous nine. Prior to that, Moose Jaw had won 11 in a row against the Hitmen. Riley Fiddler-Schultz (2g, 4a) leads all Hitmen with six points in the season series while Sean Tschigerl (2g, 2a) is next with four. Jagger Firkus (2g, 5a) is the top performing Warrior with seven points. Cardel Larson (3g, 2a) and Brayden Yager (3g, 2a) are next with five points each. The two teams will wrap up their head-to-head season series on Friday, March 11 back in Moose Jaw.
2021-22 SERIES RECAP
Dec. 2, 2021 in CGY: Hitmen 7 Warriors 1…Calgary raced out to a 4-0 first period lead.
Jan. 18/22 in MJ: Warriors 8 Hitmen 2…Moose Jaw jumped out to a 2-0 lead just 3:33 into the opening period.
Jan. 23/22 in CGY: Warriors 4 Hitmen 1…Carl Tekachuk made 30 saves in a first star performance.
Feb. 12/22 in MJ: Warriors 4 Hitmen 1…The Warriors erased a 1-0 deficit with a three goal second period.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CGY 113 MJ 127 Power Plays: CGY 3-13 (23.1%) MJ 2-12 (16.7%)
FACE-OFF CIRCLE: Riley Fiddler-Schultz and Cael Zimmerman are both among the league leaders on draws in the WHL. Fiddler-Schultz is sixth in the league in face-off wins with 550 while Zimmerman is 13th with 437. Moose Jaw’s Ryder Korczak is second with 586.
STREAKS: Riley Fiddler-Schultz (1g, 3a) has points in four of his last five games.
HOME AND AWAY COMPARISON: The Hitmen are 11-7-4-0 on home ice this season. Moose Jaw is 10-11-2-1 on the road.
WHL TOP-10: Riley Fiddler-Schultz is tied for fourth in the league in shots on goal with 190. His five game winning goals are tied for ninth…Sean Tschigerl tops the WHL in shorthanded markers with five…Brayden Peters is fourth in minutes played at 1,976 and fifth in saves with 935. His 16 wins are tied for ninth.
DRAFT WATCH: NHL Central Scouting has named two Hitmen players to its midterm rankings ahead of the 2022 NHL Draft. Defenceman Grayden Siepmann checks in at 139 among North American skaters while forward Maxim Muranov is 141.
SITTING OUT: Calgary will be without the services of forward Steel Quiring tonight. The 18-year-old has been handed a one game WHL imposed suspension for an instigator and game misconduct in the final five minutes of Saturday’s game in Moose Jaw.
ROSTER MOVE: On Monday the Hitmen recalled 16-year-old prospect Briggs Orr from of the Okanagan Hockey Academy in CSSHL and reassigned fellow16-year-old prospect Dax Williams to the Calgary Buffaloes of the U18 AAA Alberta Elite Hockey League. Orr has spent two different stints with the club prior to this latest recall. In five games with the Hitmen the product of El Dorado Hills, CA has recorded two points (1g, 1a).
MAYFAIR DIAGNOSTICS INJURY REPORT: Billal Noori (indefinitely, upper body), Keagan Slaney (five weeks, upper body), Blake Heward (TBD, upper body), Brayden Peters (day-to-day, lower body).
HITMEN VS: (BDN 1-0-1-0), (EDM 1-3), (LET 0-2-2-1), (MH 5-1), (MJ 1-3), (PA 1-1-0-1), (RD 1-4-2-0), (REG 3-1), (SAS 2-1), (SC 3-2), WPG (0-1).
REGULAR SEASON CAREER MILESTONE WATCH: Blake Stevenson needs three assists for 50 while Riley Fiddler-Schultz is four points away from 100.
HITMEN ALUMNUS: Ryan Getzlaf, who played four seasons with the Hitmen from 2001-05, is in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks. The 36-year-old forward from Regina, SK has 27 points (3g, 24a) in 41 games. Getzlaf has played 1,142 career NHL games registering 1009 points including 282 goals.
UPCOMING GAMES: Calgary is back in Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina Nation on Friday, Feb. 18 to host Winnipeg. Game time is 7:00 p.m. Due to capacity limits that game against the ICE is now sold out. The Hitmen will then return to Scotiabank Saddledome to welcome Saskatoon (Feb. 20) and Prince Albert (Feb. 23).