Friendship on ice

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

The Cold War began long before the playoff matchups were even set.

Ex-teammates Justin Pogge and Jonathan Filewich aren't on speaking terms these days.

The Calgary Hitmen goaltender and Lethbridge Hurricanes sniper, who played together last season in Prince George, likely won't be renewing their friendship when their two teams meet in the first round of the WHL playoffs.

It all dates back to late last month when, after the Hitmen gassed a two-goal lead in the final five minutes, Filewich buried the winner past Pogge in overtime.

"Yeah, he didn't talk to me after," Filewich says. "But I don't blame the guy."

Pogge evened the score last weekend, blanking the 'Canes 1-0 on their ice to give the Hitmen a crucial victory that set up the opening-round set with Lethbridge.

"He got a shutout against us the next time, so I'm not talking to him now," Filewich jokes.

The two former Cougars are actually good friends, even if they are temporarily freezing each other out.

"He's one of the most easy-going goaltenders I've ever met," Filewich says. "I've never really been buddy-buddy with too many goalies because they're a very different species but Justin's a great guy."

And he's seen enough of Pogge to know the lanky goaltender can be a huge problem if he's playing with confidence.

"The year I played with him, he was a little hot and cold," he says. "If he's hot, he's probably one of the best goaltenders in the WHL, there's no doubt about that.

"But if we can jump all over him, I think we can bury a lot of goals on him."

So Jonathan, you spotted a few chinks in the armour back in P.G.?

"Am I going to leak it out?" Filewich laughs. "No."

But there's no secret to the Hurricanes game plan -- and their perceived weakness.

"Physically, we are not the biggest team in the WHL," Filewich says. "Everyone knows that. All our top guys are smaller guys. So, I think the key for us is to shut down their top line with Ryan Getzlaf, Andrew Ladd and Shaun Landolt. And have our two offensive lines outscore them. I think whoever's top line produces on a more regular basis will win this series."

Defensive specialist Mark Olafson, along with linemates Robert Klinkhammer and Ken Petkau, will be key.

Filewich, who led the team with 42 goals, has had a great time against the Hitmen, scoring five times and adding three assists in six games.

However, Calgary won the season series 3-1-1-1, something Filewich can't explain.

"I don't know what it is," he says. "They've been close games but we haven't had our best games against Calgary, especially early in the year."

But there's no motivation like a little payback against an old friend.


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