LETHBRIDGE -- Justin Pogge gave his team a huge spark. But it was the Hitmen who spontaneously combusted. With the game tied 1-1 late in the third period, Pogge stuffed Lethbridge sniper John Lammers on a penalty shot.
But instead of feeding off the momentum, Calgary gave up the game winner just more than a minute later as the 'Canes registered a 2-1 victory in the series opener.
Hitmen captain Ryan Getzlaf, who was held off the scoresheet, said he felt the team let Pogge down.
"Obviously, Pogge played a helluva game for us tonight," Getzlaf said. "We owed him a little more than that. Especially going against a guy like Lammers, he came up big for us.
"We would have liked to get that one for him."
Pogge, making his first career playoff appearance, was stellar throughout the tight-checking affair.
The 18-year-old refused to dump on his mates and said all it took was a bad bounce for the game to go down the drain.
"It was a tight game and that's just how the bounces go," said Pogge, who made 25 saves.
"There's not much you can do about it but it's seven-game series for a reason. We'll get the next one.
"You have to stay on an even keel. You can't get too up and you can't get too down. It's going to be a long seven games. We have to regroup tomorrow and come back hard."
The game played into Calgary's hands as the visitors were able to contain Lethbridge's top line -- until Colton Yellow Horn potted the winner. The Hitmen penalty killers were flawless on five powerplays.
"On the penalty kill, we played excellent," Pogge said. "We were blocking shots and getting the puck out. There's not much more you can ask for."