Game Preview: CGY at LET – 11.29.23
HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (10-10-3-0) play their second game in as many nights on the road as they travel to Lethbridge to face the Hurricanes (13-10-2-0) tonight. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at ENMAX Centre. Calgary is coming off last night’s 4-3 overtime setback in Red Deer. Defenceman Carter Yakemchuk forced the extra session for Calgary, scoring a power play goal with 1:46 remaining before Red Deer’s Kai Uchacz potted the game winner 41 seconds into sudden death. Keets Fawcett led the Hitmen with a goal and an assist while Chase Valliant also found the back of the net for the visitors who were outshot 31-25. The Hurricanes have been idle since last Friday when they wrapped up their five-game B.C. Division road trip with a 6-4 loss in Prince George. Joe Arntsen scored a pair of second period goals for the ‘Canes to give them a short lived 4-3 lead. Miguel Marques led the Hurricanes with three points (1g, 2a) in the loss.
LETHBRIDGE: Tonight marks the fourth of seven regular season meetings between the two Central Division rivals and their third in Lethbridge. The Hitmen are 2-0-1-0 against the ‘Canes with two of their three meetings needing overtime to decide a winner. Calgary is led by Sean Tschigerl (1g, 6a) who has seven points. Ben Kindel (5a) is next with five. Noah Chadwick (1g, 3a) is the top performer for Lethbridge with four points while Brayden Edwards (1g, 2a), Leo Braillard ((3a) and Logan McCutcheon (3a) all have three. Calgary is 7-6-2-1 in their last 16 visits to ENMAX Centre. The two clubs won’t meet again until Saturday, Feb. 3 once again in Lethbridge.
2023-24 SERIES RECAP
Oct. 18/23 in LET: Hurricanes 3 Hitmen 2 OT…Logan Wormald scored the winner 25 seconds into extra time.
Oct. 22/23 in CGY: Hitmen 4 Hurricanes 3…Ben Kindel set up a career-high three goals for Calgary.
Oct. 27/23 in LET: Hitmen 4 Hurricanes 3 OT…Reese Hamilton scored the winner 3:53 into extra time.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CGY 106 LET 103 Power Plays: CGY 3-12 (25%) LET 2-11 (18.2%)
STREAKS: Keets Fawcett (3g, 1a) is on a three-game goal scoring streak while Carson Wetsch (2g, 4a) and Oliver Tulk (1g, 2a) are on three-game point streaks. Carter Yakemchuk (2g) has scored in back-to-back games with Chase Valliant (1g, 1a) and Tyson Greenway (2a) on two-game point streaks. Goaltender Alex Garrett has won his last two starts.
HERE WE GO: Tonight is the second stop in a busy stretch that sees the Hitmen play 10 games in 20 days before their 10-day holiday break. This week alone serves up three games in four nights, all on the road within the Central Division.
DID YOU KNOW? Calgary is 8-3-3-0 in their last 14 games…David Adaszynski is eight faceoff wins away from 200…Carter Yakemchuk eclipsed 100 shots last night in Red Deer.
ROSTER MOVES: Last Thursday the Hitmen acquired a third-round pick in the 2026 WHL Prospects Draft in exchange for 19-year-old forward Carter MacAdams. In a separate transaction, Calgary called up prospect Brandon Gorzynski, adding the 16-year-old to the roster as an affiliate player. 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.
WHL TOP-10: Carter Yakemchuk leads the league in goals among defencemen with 11 while his 25 points are tied for sixth among blueliners…Oliver Tulk is tied for ninth in power play goals with six…Goaltender Ethan Buenaventura is fifth in the WHL in saves with 556… Ben Kindel is tied for fourth in rookie scoring with 22 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.
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 (59) is the only Hitmen skater with at least one shot on goal in all 23 games this season…Calgary is 8-1-1 when they score the game’s first goal this season…Sean Tschigerl leads the Hitmen in multi-goal games with three while Oliver Tulk and Carson Wetsch both have two. No one has a hat-trick thus far.
CENTRAL DIVISION DIET: Tonight against Lethbridge marks the seventh contest in a schedule that sees the Hitmen play eight games in a row against teams from their own division. So far, they are 3-2-1 in this stretch with the remaining game in Medicine Hat.
CHASING THE FIELD: The Hitmen are tied with Red Deer and Portland for the third fewest games played in the WHL this season at 23. On the opposite end, Everett leads the way having already played 28 games. Calgary sits ninth in the Eastern Conference with 23 points, just two points behind Red Deer and Swift Current which share seventh spot. The Hurricanes are tied for fourth with Prince Albert at 28 points each.
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.
TEDDY BEAR TALLY: More than 16,000 seats have been sold for the Sunday, Dec. 3 ENMAX Teddy Bear Toss against the Prince Albert Raiders. Fans can secure their seat to one of the most anticipated games of the season at HitmenHockey.com. Game time is 4:00 p.m.
MAYFAIR DIAGNOSTICS INJURY REPORT: Reese Hamilton (Lower Body, Day-to-Day).
WHL CAREER MILESTONES: Maxim Muranov is two points shy of 50. Ethan Buenaventura is 14 saves away from 2,000. Sean Tschigerl achieved 100 career assists Saturday against Edmonton.
HOME AND AWAY COMPARISION: The Hitmen are 3-7-2 on the road this season while Lethbridge is 6-3-2 on home ice.
UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen are idle on Thursday before wrapping up their three-game Central Division road trip in Medicine Hat against the Tigers on Friday, Dec. 1. Game time is 7:00 p.m. It will be the first meeting with their Trans-Canada Highway rivals since an opening weekend home-and-home set in late September.