KO to the Jaw

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

The Hitmen finally fed the hungry masses.

Calgary fans have been starving for awhile now -- for goals, for intensity, for a win.

And for those tasty burgers that come with every five-goal game by the home team. But the club's recent offensive famine has left fans' bellies as bare as Old Mother Hubbard's cupboards.

The Hitmen, led by Tyrel Lucas' pair of goals, sent the crowd home happy and content with last night's 5-1 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Lucas, who played his best game since arriving at the WHL trade deadline Jan. 10, scored Calgary's second and third goals to spark what had been a listless attack.

He threw in a third-period scrap just to cement his status as the game's first star.

"It was nice to get those goals and the fight," Lucas said, showing a few battle scars from a hard night's work.

"I thought everyone battled good. It was a total team effort. We had a lot of guys going to the net, getting greasy and going after those rebounds. That was the difference."

Darryl Moscaluk, Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd also lit the lamp as Calgary improved to 31-21-8-3 and moved three points clear of fourth-place Red Deer in the Central Division.

With Hitmen GM/head coach Kelly Kisio threatening mass benchings, the home side came out with increased intensity in a scoreless opening period.

Calgary dominated the opening frame, outshooting the visitors 12-3 but couldn't solve Josh Lepp, who made his best stops late on Konstantin Pushkarev and Lucas.

Kisio was in a much better mood following last night's victory, even though it came against a weak opponent.

"We did a lot of good things tonight and didn't allow Moose Jaw much," Kisio said. "We did a lot of good work in the first period and carried it over into the second and third."

The Hitmen have gripped their sticks into sawdust -- or at least a pile of graphite shavings -- in recent outings, scoring just three even-strength goals while going winless in their past five.

But the futility finally came to an end and it was from an unlikely source as grinder Moscaluk put Calgary on the board at the 2:45 mark of the middle frame.

Riley Merkley sent a harmless wrister off Lepp's stick but Moscaluk banged it out of mid air and into the back of the net.

The Hitmen were back for more two minutes later when, during a wild scramble, they fired at least a half-dozen shots at the Moose Jaw net.

Lucas finally ended the suspense when he snapped a shot through a traffic wreck in front of the net.

Calgary's powerplay went to work at the midway point and Merkley sent a doorstep feed to Lucas, who fanned on his original offering before shovelling the leftovers five-hole for a 3-0 lead.

Troy Brouwer scored Moose Jaw's only goal, on the powerplay, early in the third.

But the Hitmen didn't allow the Warriors to gain any momentum as, less than a minute later, Getzlaf picked off an errant Dan Ehrman pass, waltzed in alone and deked Lepp for his 25th goal of the season.

Ladd finished the damage with a powerplay goal when he neatly deflected Dustin Kohn's point shot between his legs.

The Hitmen outshot Moose Jaw 42-19.

BIG HONOUR: Calgarian Ryan Stone of Brandon was named the CHL player of the week yesterday after recording six goals and six assists to lead the Wheat Kings to a 4-0 record last week.


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