Stand by your 'men

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

LETHBRIDGE -- The Calgary Hitmen made it clear cheap shots will not be tolerated. During last night's 3-2 win over the Hurricanes, Lethbridge blueliner Mark Ashton took a run at Ryan Getzlaf, crushing the Calgary captain seconds after he'd made a pass.

Referee Kyle Rehman's hand immediately went up to give Ashton a charging penalty but, at the same time, Getzlaf's teammates Shaun Landolt and Andrew Ladd quickly came to his defence and went after Ashton.

Unfortunately for the Hitmen, the powerplay got negated by Landolt's roughing penalty but, at the same time, a message was sent loud and clear.

"We're all friends on the team, kind of like a family, so if someone's coming after a family member, you've got to stick up for him," said Landolt, who scored his first of the playoffs in the triumph.

"I didn't even think. I saw the cheap hit.

I didn't get to fight him but I just let him know that we were watching him."

Landolt, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, said he didn't see Rehman's arm go up.

After Landolt took a shot at Ashton, Ladd gave the d-man a shove as well.

"When he takes a shot at your best player, you're going to react," said Ladd, who got the game-winner on a shorthanded breakaway.

"It was good on Landy and we're happy about the way we dealt with it."

Back in September and October, the Hitmen weren't so quick to come to each other's defence.

Since then, any dirty shot or slash hasn't been taken lightly.

That is a lesson the club has learned over the campaign, said co-coach Kelly Kisio.

"At the start of the year, we had a little trouble with that and we talked to the guys about it," said the bench boss.

"Now the guys have done that real well as far as standing up for each other. We got a penalty for it but you want to let them know you won't take that type of stuff."

And when you're battling in a tight playoff series, the Hitmen's team unity is a bonus in terms of being one of those intangibles that could become a big factor as the post-season progresses.

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