Hitmen storm past Swift

Calgary Hitmen right-winger Konstantin Pushkarev gets tossed around by Swift Current Broncos'...

Calgary Hitmen right-winger Konstantin Pushkarev gets tossed around by Swift Current Broncos' Michael Hengen in front of goalie Kyle Moir last night at the 'Dome. (Calgary Sun/Kevin Udahl)

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

It was extremely calm before the potential storm.

Yesterday's Calgary Hitmen-Swift Current Broncos matchup, coming less than 24 hours before the WHL trade deadline, wasn't the most entertaining tilt.

But the Hitmen, who got goals from Ryan White, Konstantin Pushkarev and Lee Zalasky, could care less about style points and were more than happy to skate off with a 3-0 win.

GM-head coach Kelly Kisio, who will be busy keeping an eye on the trade front up until today's noon deadline, was pleased with the defensive effort after Calgary improved to 19-15-6-2 and back into a third-place tie with the Red Deer Rebels in the tight Central Division.

"Our defence did a good job of not letting them get very many opportunities," said Kisio, who added he's held talks with several teams but isn't optimistic about consumating a deal today.

Calgary starter Scott Bowles managed to stay awake long enough to pick up his fourth shutout of the season, kicking out 14 mostly harmless shots along the way.

"I only had 10 shots after two (periods)," Bowles said.

"So I thought I'd better start singing here or I'm going to be pretty bored by the end of this one.

"I had one shutout earlier this year against Kootenay where I had 12 shots so this was probably the second-easiest (goose egg)."

Pushkarev, who has been an exciting and wildly unpredictable player to watch this season, said his gas tank was running on fumes near the end of the game.

"We've played three games in three nights and I was very tired in the third period," said the Russian rookie, who is still getting accustomed to the gruelling WHL travel schedule.

"We got home at 3 a.m. and I only slept for about six hours. It's hard."

The divisional tilt got off to a cautious start with neither team managing a shot on goal for the first seven-plus minutes.

But the Hitmen scored the only goal of the opening frame on their second shot. Pushkarev fired a shot off the glass, White picked up the rebound at the side of the net and put it past Calgarian Kyle Moir from a near-impossible angle.

Pushkarev, who had a five-game point-scoring streak snapped in Cranbrook Saturday night, gave the Hitmen a two-goal cushion late in the middle stanza.

With a few seconds left on a Calgary powerplay, he crossed the blueline, stepped into the middle and sent a wrist shot over Moir's glove.

Swift Current pulled the 'tender with 2:20 to play in regulation but couldn't find the net.

Zalasky and Brett O'Malley skated in on a 2-on-0, played hot potato with the puck to ensure neither would be left off the scoresheet, before the former slid it into the open cage with 20 seconds left.

Calgary outshot the Broncos 28-14.


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