Hitmen's Mr. Clutch

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

Nobody should be surprised at Ryan White's play for the Calgary Hitmen this season.

The 16-year-old rookie -- who has potted two game-winning goals for the Hitmen already in this young WHL season -- has been in his fair share of big games in his hockey career.

The kid from Brandon, Man., can handle the spotlight.

During last season's national midget championship, White assisted on the game-winner in a 2-1 overtime win over Quebec, earning his Brandon Wheat Kings the Canadian title.

"That was the greatest feeling I've ever had playing hockey," said White, who posted 62 points in 39 games last season.

"I went through a few years of playing in a Winnipeg triple-A (bantam) league and we were getting quite handled every night but last year was a great feeling."

So was getting drafted by the Calgary Hitmen, who called his name in the fourth round of the 2003 bantam draft (69th overall).

While White would have loved to stay and play in his hometown, the Stampede City has been pretty good for him so far.

"I love waking up every morning and seeing the mountains," said White.

He has transferred that good feeling onto the ice, where White is third in Hitmen scoring with two goals and three assists in six games. And he's getting plenty chances to dull his skate blades, which he admits is a bit of a surprise.

"Coming in, I didn't expect to get this much ice-time," said White. "I've been getting quite a bit of PK and a regular shift, so it's fun and I'm having a great time but it comes with hard work and I'm happy for myself.

"I've just got to keep going and hope to get a little more ice."

White and his Hitmen mates face their toughest test of the season as they take on the Kootenay Ice tonight in Cranbrook (7 p.m., Fan 960).

The Ice (5-1-1-0) lead the WHL standings with 11 points, with 4-1-1-1 Hitmen trailing by just one point.

Calgary returns to the Saddledome Sunday for a tilt against the Kelowna Rockets (2:30 p.m., Fan 960).


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