Hitmen rebound

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

Give the Calgary Hitmen an 'E' -- as in excellent -- for effort.

After getting spanked 5-1 by Saskatoon Saturday, the WHL club rebounded in a big way, beating the Swift Current Broncos 4-0 last night in the Saskatchewan city.

Netminder Scott Bowles got his first shutout of the campaign, stopping 22 shots.

Hitmen coaches addressed the team's work ethic issue with the players before the game.

"Right from the drop of the puck our work ethic went up tenfold compared to (Saturday) night," said Hitmen GM-head coach Kelly Kisio, who juggled all four lines before the game.

"(On Saturday) we didn't do a thing we wanted to and tonight we did. Every line we threw out did what you need to win hockey games and tonight every line was going well. When you change one or two lines, it makes guys think a little more."

It certainly paid off as the Hitmen came out fired up, outshooting the Broncos 19-4 in the first period.

Also of concern coming in was the Calgary powerplay, which was a woeful 2-for-33 -- a 6% conversion rate -- the third-worst in the WHL.

That all changed last night as the Hitmen went 2-for-5, doubling their season output as they finally got the powerplay rolling early in the second period with two quick goals.

Konstantin Pushkarev did the damage first, notching his third goal of the season at 4:29. That tally was followed up by Steve Covington's second of the year four minutes later.

Those man-advantage markers were followed by Ryan Getzlaf's fifth of the campaign which made it 3-0 at 16:36 and that total was quickly padded by Blackie's Riley Merkley, who scored his first of 2004-05, less than two minutes later.

The Hitmen improve to 3-1-1-1, while the Broncos fall to 1-3-0-1.

With the win, the Hitmen wrapped up three games in three nights through Saskatchewan by earning four out of a possible six points.

The Hitmen return to the Saddledome Wednesday (7 p.m.) for a game against the struggling Regina Pats (1-3).


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