Hitmen Bearied

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

The Saskatoon Blades did a great job of raining on Ryan Getzlaf and the Calgary Hitmen's teddy bear party.

On a day when 13,156 teddy bears were collected for local charities, the Blades scored two goals in the final minute and a half of the game for a 4-3 victory at the Saddledome yesterday, stunning a record regular-season crowd of 16,073.

Calgary captain Ryan Getzlaf tallied a hat trick as the Hitmen (14-11-5-1) have now lost three in a row.

But what's most disappointing is they were only two minutes away from a win until weak goals by Joe Barnes, which tied the game at 18:41 of the third, and Devin Setoguchi with 30 seconds left, gave the Blades a victory.

Saskatoon now improves to 17-7-5-1, tops in the Eastern Division.

"It's tough. They're a talented hockey team and that's when you've got to tighten up and suck it up and play your game," said Getzlaf, who has 19 goals on the season.

"We had the game in our hands and we blew it, it's as simple as that and now we've got to learn from this."

The Blades opened the scoring on Ryan Keller's 24th of the season, as he came from beside the net, eluded a Scott Bowles poke check and slipped a backhand in at 4:29.

The Hitmen tied it up on Getzlaf's first of the game at 12:55 and that sent the crowd into a frenzy as they hurled their teddy bears onto the ice.

It took nearly 30 minutes to clear the surface and when the clubs returned, Getzlaf tallied his second of the game, banging home a rebound off a Darryl Yacboski point shot at 14:10 of the first.

But the Blades fought back and tied it up 13:53 into the second when Setoguchi scored on a wraparound.

Getzlaf's third of the afternoon, a powerplay goal at 16:53 of the second, restored the Hitmen's one-goal lead. Shortly after, the Regina product almost got his fourth but was denied in tight by Blades goalie Ryan Cyr as Getzlaf tried to go top shelf.

The save was key as the Blades rallied on account of the late weak goals.

"They were iffy goals, too. We put some confidence in a couple of guys with a minute and a half left and they couldn't get it done. It's pretty frustrating," said Hitmen GM-head coach Kelly Kisio.

"We went brain-dead in the last minute and I thought Bowlesy should have had all four goals."

Left-winger Darryl Moscaluk left yesterday's game with an undisclosed injury, adding to the Hitmen's woes. Defenceman Andy Rogers, forwards Keegan Dansereau, Roman Tomanek, Brett O'Malley and Konstantin Pushkarev are already all hurt.

"We're going to have to find some guys somewhere," said Kisio.

At least the club doesn't play until Friday in Regina.

Then again, that's a lot of time to lick their wounds after this one.


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