Hitmen d-men corps hurtin'

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:12 PM ET

And then there were five. The already depleted Calgary Hitmen blueline corps took another hit last night in a 2-2 tie against Red Deer when rugged defenceman Darryl Yacboski left the game in the first period and didn't return.

After finishing a check, Yacboski, who was deemed healthy after a previous shoulder problem, glided back to the bench favouring his left shoulder, leaving the Hitmen with five defenceman including 16-year-old Justin Falk, who appeared in just his third game.

Hitmen co-coach Dean Evason didn't have an update on Yacboski's injury but said his club will make due with what it's got heading into the playoffs.

"You've got to do what you've got to do. Who knows what's going to happen tomorrow. We'll evaluate day by day and coach the guys that we have on the ice," said Evason, who is already without Dylan Yeo, who is nursing a knee injury.

Overage forward Brett O'Malley also left in the first period after blocking a Dion Phaneuf shot.

He didn't return and was on crutches after the game.

Things were so thin on the blueline that even Andrew Ladd took a shift on the point during a penalty kill.

Defenceman Jeff Schultz admitted he was dog-tired after double-shifting pretty much throughout the entire contest and can't believe his teammates have been dropping like dominoes.

"Every time somebody tries to come back, they're out," lamented Schultz.

"But the five of us are pretty confident. We play hard every night and Karl Alzner has stepped it up. He's played a lot of minutes and been real good out there."

Calgary's defencemen have been banged up all year and maybe it started in the exhibition season against Kootenay, where at one point in that game they had a total of two blueliners on the bench.

Then Andy Rogers, who has since been dealt to Prince George, got hurt early in the campaign and was out for a long time with an ankle sprain. Brett Carson has dealt with a couple of concussions and that's in addition to Yacboski and Yeo.


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