Is bigger better?

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

The tale of the tape doesn't lie.

The Calgary Hitmen have a huge size advantage over most teams in the WHL.

Against the small, skilled Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Hitmen are veritable giants.

'Canes winger Jonathan Filewich -- at 6-ft. 2-in., 200 lb. -- is the biggest of his team's top-six forwards.

Prior to the series opener, he said it would come down to Calgary's size against the Hurricanes' speed.

"Physically, we are not the biggest team in the WHL," Filewich said. "Everyone knows that. All our top guys are smaller guys."

Filewich was referring to linemate Colton Yellow Horn (5 ft. 7 in., 177 lb.) and Kyle Pess (5 ft. 10 in., 180 lb.), who have been the focal point of Calgary's physical game.

And the second line of Tyler Redenbach, Kris Versteeg and John Lammers isn't much bigger.

Calgary blueliner Jeff Schultz -- a 6-ft. 6-in., 212-lb. behemoth -- said slowing down Lethbridge's tiny speedsters will be key when Game 3 moves to the 'Dome tomorrow night (7 p.m., The Fan 960).

"With the smaller guys, the more we hit them, the more rundown they'll get," Schultz said. "Their D might not be as mobile as some other teams so if we can get in and pressure them, they'll cough up the puck.

"Guys like Yellow Horn, Lammers and Versteeg, the more room they have out there, the easier it is for them to make plays. By hitting them and slowing them down, it takes those opportunities away."

The longer this hard-fought series goes -- and most are predicting a lengthy battle -- the better Calgary's chances become.

The Hitmen hope by exacting a physical toll, the 'Canes skilled players will be a step slower as the series heads to Games 5, 6 or 7.

GM/co-coach Kelly Kisio said a longer series should benefit his bigger team.

"Their skilled guys are not overly big. So you have to do your best to make sure they work for everything they get," he said.

Calgary did a decent job of taking the body against the Lethbridge's top guns in the first two games, holding Yellow Horn and Filewich to a goal apiece.

But there's always room for improvement, Kisio said.

"In the first game, I didn't think we were overly physical," he explained. "We were a little better Saturday night in finishing our checks."

A large, loud Saddledome crowd should help energize the Hitmen but Kisio warned his players have to be careful.

"You can take that over the top, too," he said. "We've got to be under control."

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SIZING UP THE TEAMS

The five tallest players on the Hitmen and Hurricanes:

* HITMEN

Jeff Schultz, D: 6 ft. 6 in., 212 lb.

Brett Carson, D: 6 ft. 5 in., 218 lb.

Alex Plante, D: 6 ft. 4 in., 200 lb.

Darryl Yacboski, D: 6 ft. 3 in., 218 lb.

Ryan Getzlaf, RW: 6 ft. 3 in., 210 lb.

* HURRICANES

Brent Seabrook, D: 6 ft. 3 in., 215 lb.

Dwight King, C: 6-ft. 3-in., 197 lb.

Rob Klinkhammer, LW: 6 ft. 2 in., 214 lb.

Jonathan Filewich, RW: 6 ft. 2 in., 200 lb.

Mark Olafson, RW: 6 ft. 1 in., 220 lb.


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