Boiling point

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

Andrew Ladd's frustration had been building for some time.

So the Calgary Hitmen winger, who had found the net just three times in 15 games since returning from the world junior tourney, blew off a little steam last night at the expense of the visiting Vancouver Giants.

Ladd made a statement with an early fight and then scored two key third-period goals to give the Hitmen a 3-2 win at the 'Dome.

"I thought I had a lot more jump today," said Ladd, who had one marker in his previous eight games prior to last night.

"It's nice to score, especially when you haven't had any in a while."

After the G-Men took a 2-1 lead on Conlan Seder's second goal of the game early in the third, Ladd went to work.

He nearly jammed a Shaun Landolt pass past Giants starter Marek Schwarz but ran out of room. He managed to bank the puck in off Schwarz from behind the net to tie things up at the 3:32 mark.

The Carolina Hurricanes first-rounder scored the winner halfway through the final frame when he snapped a shot from the slot over Schwarz's blocker.

Justin Pogge was extremely sharp once again in the Hitmen net, turning aside 36 shots to keep the home side in it.

Calgary improved to 29-18-6-3 and moved three points clear of the Red Deer Rebels in third place in the Central Division.

Hitmen d-man Brett Carson, who has missed a number of games recently with concussion problems, saw his night end prematurely.

The 19-year-old blueliner threw a pair of big hits, the second on Giants rookie J.D. Watt, who retaliated with a forearm to Carson's head.

The Hitmen bench screamed for a penalty but with none forthcoming, Ladd took matters into his own hands, dropping the gloves with Watt on the next shift and landing several solid blows.

Rookie forward Ryan White, who assisted on all three Calgary goals, said his teammate made a major statement.

"He's an all-around player for us," White said of Ladd.

"We need guys to step up and take that role. We can't have people thinking when they come to Calgary, they can take cheap shots at our guys.

"If a player like Ladd steps up, any guy on the team should be willing to do the same. That was great leadership."

The Hitmen have gotten off to more than a few slow starts this season but, from an offensive standpoint, they completely sleepwalked through an opening scoreless period.

With the shots 12-1, Schwarz was forced to play a dump-in from centre ice, drawing a sarcastic cheer from the 'Dome crowd.

D-man Dustin Kohn put the Hitmen on the board two minutes into the middle frame when his powerplay point shot deflected off a defender in front and into the top corner.

Konstantin Pushkarev picked up an assist and moved into top spot in team scoring.

The rookie import, who has 41 points on the campaign, has played 14 more games than Ryan Getzlaf, who is out with a concussion.

The visitors drew even at the midway point.

Calgary had trouble clearing the zone and Seder eventually circled out front, picked up a loose puck and wristed it over Pogge's glove.

Vancouver held a 23-9 advantage on the shot clock through 40 minutes.


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