The Calgary Hitmen have been giving away points like they're candy at a Halloween bash. Last night, it was those devilish trick or treaters from Red Deer that showed up with their hands out and left town with a point.
Roman Wick scored two late third-period goals as the Hitmen gassed yet another lead in the dying minutes in a 2-2 draw with the Rebels.
Ryan Getzlaf and Konstantin Pushkarev provided the offence for Calgary in front of a record crowd of 18,279 -- the third-biggest in WHL history to watch a regular-season game.
Hitmen starter Justin Pogge made 37 stops as Calgary moved to 33-22-9-5 on the season and remained three points up on the Rebels, who have two games in hand, in the battle for third spot in the Central Division.
Getzlaf said his goaltender deserved a better outcome.
"I thought we battled hard and obviously Pogge showed up to play," Getzlaf said.
"We owed him that one."
Flames first-rounder Dion Phaneuf sparked the Rebels offence with less than eight minutes to play when he skated the length of the blueline before zipping a cross-ice pass to Wick, who ripped a shot over Pogge's glove three seconds after a Red Deer powerplay ended.
With the visitors enjoying yet another man advantage -- their eighth of the contest -- Wick was back for more.
Chris Neiszner banged away at a rebound that eventually popped loose to Wick, who
hit the empty cage with 1:33 to play.
"It's frustrating at the best of times," Getzlaf said of the blown lead.
"That's the worst thing you can do is blow a lead like that. A couple of bounces didn't go our way."
Hitmen co-coach Dean Evason, who was unhappy with his troops' lack of discipline in Wednesday's 2-1 OT loss in Kelowna, said the eight powerplays they surrendered were far too many.
"There were some retaliatory penalties that we could have stayed away from," Evason said.
"We gave up way too many opportunities to their powerplay."
Neither team found the back of the net during a physical opening frame almost devoid of offence.
The visitors enjoyed a slight territorial advantage but not to the extent the shot clock -- 14-4 in favour of the Rebels -- would indicate.
Pogge made his best stop with the left pad on Ted Vandermeer's shot from the slot at the midway point.
The Hitmen lost the services of heavy hitter Darryl Yacboski, who reinjured his shoulder throwing a check, and overage winger Brett O'Malley before the horn sounded to end the first.
Calgary wasted little time bringing the big crowd to its feet in the second period, potting a pair of goals before the two-minute mark.
With the teams playing 4-on-4, Rebels captain Colin Fraser sent an ill-advised pass up the middle that Getzlaf picked off.
The Hitmen captain took two strides towards the net before sending a wrister over Andrew Leslie's glove 14 seconds in.
Getzlaf orchestrated the second goal as well on the powerplay, sending a terrific backhand pass out front to Pushkarev, who went top corner blocker side.
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CALGARY HITMEN: 2
RED DEER REBELS: 2