Ladd's a 'Cane killer

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:05 PM ET

LETHBRIDGE -- The Hitmen have their own Eliminator. Andrew Ladd scored his second overtime goal in as many games to give the Calgary Hitmen a 2-1 victory last night over the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The 19-year-old winger, who scored in double OT in Game 4, was the difference once again as the Hitmen won the WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final 4-1.

Ladd is starting to gain a reputation for coming through in the clutch, much like Martin Gelinas did for the Flames last spring.

"Someone just called me that in the dressing-room, actually," the Maple Ridge, B.C., product laughed when asked if he has become the new Eliminator.

"He's not a bad guy to be compared to. I watched him beat my Canucks."

Ladd took a pass from linemate Ryan Getzlaf and sent a shot on net from the top of the circle that bounced off goaltender Aaron Sorochan's shoulder and into the net at 4:02 of sudden death.

The goal sends the Hitmen into the second round of the playoffs for the first time in four years but they'll have to wait to find out who they'll play in Round 2.

Tyrel Lucas also scored for Calgary, which received a 27-save performance from Justin Pogge.

Getzlaf said Ladd could do no wrong in the last few games.

"When you're hot, you're hot," Getzlaf said of his linemate, who leads the team with five goals in the post-season.

"He's on a roll right now and we'll just keep riding it."

The overflow Enmax Centre crowd, hoping to see their Hurricanes extend the series, exploded at 4:52 of the opening period when the home side struck first.

Kyle Pess, who was a healthy scratch in Game 4, collected a Colton Yellow Horn rebound and beat Pogge.

The Hitmen continued their physical brand of play early on and were whistled for four first-period penalties.

But the anemic Lethbridge powerplay failed to connect on any of them -- and gave up a shorthanded goal to boot.

Getzlaf lofted the puck into centre ice and 'Canes d-man Brent Seabrook tried to knock it down. Lucas swept in to grab the puck, skated in all alone and deked Sorochan before sliding the puck five hole.

The Hitmen, with two shorthanded goals in the series, outscored the Lethbridge powerplay, which was 1-for-25.

Calgary overage forward Shaun Landolt threw a massive hit on 'Canes defensive specialist Mark Olafson late in the period. The Hitmen player drew an elbowing penalty and Olafson required assistance to get off the ice.

The Hurricanes dominated the first 10 minutes of the scoreless middle frame, holding Calgary to a pair of harmless shots.

With Lethbridge buzzing the net for two minutes, Pogge made an enormous stop on Rob Klinkhammer at the halfway point, sliding across the crease to keep the game tied at one heading into the third period.

Calgary outshot the Hurricanes 24-18 through

40 minutes.

Both teams sat back in the third and waited for the opposition to make a mistake but none came.

The Enmax Centre crowd exploded halfway through the third period, thinking the 'Canes had scored. A screened shot clanked off the iron and bounced behind Pogge but never crossed the line.

The guy in charge of the arena's celebratory fog horn had an itchy trigger finger and let it blast as play continued.

Sorochan made his most difficult stop when he stood his ground on a Getzlaf backhander with 3:26 to play in regulation.

- - -

CALGARY HITMEN: 2

LETHBRIDGE HURRICANES: 1

OVERTIME

HITMEN WIN SERIES 4-1


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