Do the crime, ride the pine

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Calgary Hitmen GM/head coach Kelly Kisio, frustrated with his squad's lack of intensity, issued an ultimatum following yesterday afternoon's 3-2 loss to the visiting Saskatoon Blades: Pay the price or warm the bench.

"Next game, it will be 'sit,' " Kisio said of his players, who recently have shied away from high-traffic areas.

"If you don't want to go into those areas, have a seat beside me.

"We've been pretty kind to a lot of guys so far. It's time to get nasty."

The Hitmen, who haven't scored more than three goals in any of their past eight games, showed no sense of urgency as the struggling Blades scored three powerplay goals and then buckled down defensively.

Winger Andrew Ladd, one of the few who could be credited with putting in a full day's work, agreed with his coach's assessment and said the team's older players need to take charge.

"The grit and determination is not there," said Ladd, who along with Brodie Dupont accounted for Calgary's offence.

"If you're determined to get to the front of the net, there's going to be some rebounds and you're going to score some gritty goals.

"Guys have to dig deep and find a way to get it done. A lot of us veterans have to bring more to the table than we have been lately. The young guys have been playing pretty well for us."

The Hitmen fell to 30-21-8-3 on the season and remain one point ahead of fourth-place Red Deer, which has a game in hand, in the Central Division.

Ladd opened the scoring on the powerplay at the 7:23 mark of the first period. After Ryan Getzlaf was tackled in the corner, Konstantin Pushkarev picked up the puck and found Ladd at the top of the crease.

Daniel Waschuk deflected Mike Green's point shot through Justin Pogge's pads to square the affair.

Green, a Calgary product, put the visitors up late in the period when he stepped over the blueline and wired a slapshot past Pogge, who would surely like a do-over on the play.

Following a scoreless middle stanza, Dupont brought the Hitmen even on the powerplay 29 seconds into the final frame. The rookie winger deflected Brett Carson's shot off the post but followed up and jammed in his own rebound.

Aaron Bader scored the game winner six minutes into the third. Pogge stopped Tyler Boldt's original offering but Bader buried the rebound.

Saskatoon, the highest-scoring team in the WHL, had been struggling coming into the game.

Losers of three straight, the Blades' seemingly comfortable lead atop the East Division standings quickly evaporated over the past few weeks as Brandon caught fire.

Green said his club was desperate to get back in the win column.

"We kept it simple and hard," Green said. "Over the last three games, we really struggled with the puck. We've turned it over and it has ended up in our net. Tonight, we got it off the glass."

- - -

SASKATOON BLADES: 3

CALGARY HITMEN: 2


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