Game Preview: Calgary vs Swift Current -12.06.23
HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (11-12-3-0) wrap up a two-game homestand tonight when they host the Swift Current Broncos (13-11-1-2). Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Saddledome. Be sure to take advantage of the $6 Hitmen Happy Hour from when doors open at 6:00 p.m. up until the opening faceoff. Items include pizza, burgers, hot dogs, 14-ounce beer, highballs and 6-ounce house wine all for $6 each. The Hitmen are coming off Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders in the Teddy Bear Toss powered by ENMAX. For the second season in a row Hitmen forward London Hoilett scored the goal that brought the bears down. In total 16,769 fans tossed 21,233 stuffed toys. Oliver Tulk also scored for Calgary while Raiders goaltender Max Hildebrand made 44 saves. The Broncos have been idle since Saturday’s 6-5 shootout defeat in Regina. The back-and-forth contest, which saw neither team lead by more than a single goal, ended when Tanner Howe scored the lone goal of the shootout in round three.
SWIFT CURRENT: Tonight is the first of five regular season meetings between the two Central Division rivals. The Broncos grabbed the opener in late September back in Swift Current when Connor Hvidston scored twice. The Calgary roster has changed significantly since then as five Hitmen who were in the line-up that night are no longer on the team in Matteo Danis, Tomas Marinkovic, Grayden Siepmann, Carter MacAdams and Jason Spizawka. The Hitmen went 2-0-1 on home ice against Swift Current last season. The two clubs will meet again in just 11 days when the Broncos make a return trip to the ‘Dome on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2:00 p.m.
2023-24 SERIES RECAP
Sept. 29/23 in SC: Broncos 3 Hitmen 0…Joey Rocha made 33 saves for the shutout.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CGY 33 SC 29 Power Plays: CGY 0-5 (0%) SC 2-4 (50%)
STREAKS: Oliver Tulk (3g) is on a three-game goal scoring streak and is also riding a six-game point streak (4g, 4a) Carter Yakemchuk (1g, 2a) and Keets Fawcett (1g, 1a) both have points in back-to-back games.
BUSY BOYS: Tonight is Calgary’s fifth game in nine days.
FAST FACTS: Calgary is one of the youngest teams in the WHL with an average age of 17.5, a roster that includes 10 rookies…David Adaszynski (67) is the only Hitmen skater with at least one shot on goal in all 26 games this season…Sean Tschigerl leads the Hitmen in multi-goal games with four including the team’s first hat-trick of the season last Friday in Medicine Hat…Maxim Muranov tops the Hitmen in plus/minus at +9…Tyson Greenway is one faceoff win shy of 100 this season.
DID YOU KNOW? Calgary is 9-5-3 in their last 17 games since starting the season 2-7…The Hitmen have played 38.2% of their 68-game regular season schedule…Six Hitmen have scored five or more goals while the Broncos have eight players with at least five goals…Calgary is 7-4-1 at home this season while Swift Current is 4-8-0-1 on the road…The Hitmen have recorded 40 or more shots in a game nine times.
WHL TOP-10: Carter Yakemchuk leads the league in goals among defencemen with 12 while his 28 points are tied for fifth among blueliners…Oliver Tulk is tied for ninth in power play goals with six…Goaltender Ethan Buenaventura is fourth in the WHL in saves with 603… Ben Kindel is fifth in rookie scoring with 23 points…The last time a Hitmen freshman finished Top-10 in WHL Rookie scoring was Russian import Andrei Grishakov. He notched 35 points (11g, 24a) in the 2016-17 season to finish tied for 10th.
WHL DEBUT: Hitmen prospect Brandon Gorzynski suited up for his first career WHL regular season game last Friday in Medicine Hat. The 16-year-old was added to the roster the previous weekend following the trade of Carter MacAdams to Tri-City. Gorzynski, a centre from Scottsdale, Arizona, was Calgary’s first-round pick (15th overall) in the 2022 WHL U.S. Priority Draft. He signed with the club in mid-September and notched one goal in four pre-season games. This season he has 12 points (7g, 5a) in 12 games with the U16 Elite Pittsburgh Penguins.
SCOUTS EYE: NHL Central Scouting has released its ‘Preliminary Players to Watch’ list for the 2024 NHL Draft. Hitmen defenceman Carter Yakemchuk gained recognition as an ‘A’ ranked skater, projecting as a first-round candidate while forward Carson Wetsch is a ‘B’ ranked skater forecasting as a second or third-round candidate. A total of 63 WHLers are on the list including six potential first-round picks.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Forward Keets Fawcett is in his first season with the Hitmen and was listed by the club in December of 2022 before signing last past March. The 17-year-old forward from Grimshaw, AB spent last season with Edge School as a member of the U-18 prep team. There he notched 39 points (15g, 24a) in 28 games. Now in his WHL rookie season, Fawcett has 13 points (5g, 8a) in 24 games.
POST-GAME AUTOGRAPHS: Meet goaltender Ethan Buenaventura and forward Ben Kindel after tonight’s game against Swift Current. Both players will be signing autographs at the Hitmen Booster Club table located behind Section 212.
MAYFAIR DIAGNOSTICS INJURY REPORT: Reese Hamilton (Lower Body, Out Indefinitely).
WHL CAREER MILESTONES: Carter Yakemchuk, now in his third WHL season, is one game shy of 150. Oliver Tulk needs one goal to reach 50 while Maxim Muranov is one point shy of 50. Ethan Buenaventura passed 2,000 saves on Friday in Medicine Hat.
GAME-WORN AND GAME-ISSUED JERSEY AUCTION: The special Teddy Bear Toss jersey’s worn during Sunday’s Teddy Bear Toss powered by ENMAX are now up for bid online at elevateauctions.com/TeddyBearToss. The auction closes tomorrow, Thursday. Dec. 7 at 8:00 p.m. M.T. Proceeds will benefit the Calgary Hitmen Foundation. To date, including Teddy Bear Lane held in 2020, fans have now tossed 477,457 teddy bears since the first event was held Dec. 16, 1995.
ALUMNI WATCH: Jett Woo is in the American Hockey League with the Abbotsford Canucks. The 23-year-old defenceman has 10 points (2g, 8a) in 19 games. Woo spent the 2019-20 season with the Hitmen recording 46 points (7g, 39a) in 64 games.
UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen depart tomorrow for a pair of road games in Saskatchewan with stops in Prince Albert on Friday, Dec. 8 and Saskatoon on Sunday, Dec. 10. Friday’s game is a 6:00 p.m. M.T. start with Sunday’s an early 3:00 p.m. M.T. puck drop. Calgary will then return home to host Red Deer on Wednesday, Dec. 13 in a 7:00 p.m. start at the ‘Dome.