'Canes switch hit

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

Game 4 saw a changing of the guard for Lethbridge Hurricanes and for the better part of four periods, it worked.

Lethbridge head coach Lindsay Hofford stirred things up against Calgary's top trio of Ryan Getzlaf, Andrew Ladd and Shaun Landolt for last night's tilt at the Saddledome by breaking up what had been his top checking line through the first three games of the series.

Rather than throwing out the KOP line of Rob Klinkhammer, Mark Olafson and Kenny Petkau against the Hitmen's big three, Hofford put together the trio of Olafson, Michael Kaye and Shawn Mezei, who moved up from the defence-corps.

They did yeoman's work but Getzlaf managed to draw the assist on Ladd's game winner in double overtime, which gave the Hitmen a 3-2 win.

And Getzlaf has seen Mezei, who shadowed him whenever possible, before, as they matched up several times during the regular season.

"It's a little different look but we've seen it before and we're confident in what we can do," said Getzlaf, who had three assists on the night with the other two coming via the powerplay.

"Mezei's a defensive guy and that's what they want, to have their defensive players on our top line. He's going to do his job out there like everybody else."

Every time the Getzlaf line hit the ice, so did Olafson and Co., as well as defencemen Brent Seabrook and Mark Ashton, who have been out there every time the Getzlaf line steps into the faceoff circle.

But it was Mezei's job to get in Getzlaf's grill and harass the Anaheim Mighty Ducks prospect whenever he could.

And the 5-ft. 11-in., 208-pounder from Taber was successful, especially with the teams at even strength.

He even lured Getzlaf into a roughing penalty during early action in the second period after the Hitmen sniper grabbed Mezei's sweater after the whistle on what was a questionable call by referee Rob Matsuoka.

For his part Mezei, who played left wing, was happy with his line's performance.

"I thought we did a good job shutting them down all night but unfortunately they got that break in the second OT," said Mezei.

"I've matched up with him in the last couple games of the season and I was just waiting for a chance in the playoffs.

"He's a big guy with a big frame and you've got to get in his face and his head. It's a challenge to go up against him and that line."

Hofford said he won't hesitate to match the same units and stick with a bigger lineup for Game 5 on Friday in Lethbridge (7 p.m., FAN 960).

"We went with a bigger lineup tonight and it worked well. Hopefully it'll help on our ice and help turn the series around," said Hofford, who enjoys the last shift advantage at the Enmax Centre.

Kaye, 18, returned to the 'Canes lineup after recovering from a shoulder injury which forced him to miss the first three games of the series and scored Lethbridge's second goal.


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