Series win overdue

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:56 AM ET

LETHBRIDGE -- Before their first-round battle against the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Calgary Hitmen were quietly confident. Many on the club knew they'd beat the favoured Hurricanes, although they wouldn't say it publicly. And after last night's 2-1 overtime triumph for a 4-1 series win, the Hitmen are moving on to the WHL's Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2001.

After losing their three previous first-round series, guys such as captain Ryan Getzlaf are happy to move on.

"There's a different feeling around this team. Me, personally, I feel a little more confident. Even throughout the year we had some tough times finishing games but when we were tied, I had no doubt in my mind that we were going to finish this thing off," said Getzlaf.

He said a key factor heading into the series was a 1-0 win against the Hurricanes in Lethbridge in the penultimate game of the regular season -- a game the Hitmen dominated.

"We ended the season the way we wanted to and it was really good to get that win we had here at the end of the year," said Getzlaf, who finished the series with eight points.

"It gave us that extra bit of confidence heading into the playoffs but they're a skilled team over there. They work hard."

Hitmen head coach/GM Kelly Kisio was well aware of his club's recent post-season failures and last night he couldn't suppress a huge grin.

"It's joy. I'm real happy and real proud of our guys with how hard they played," said Kisio, who won his first WHL playoff round as a coach.

"They had that look in their eyes and you could tell they wanted to win. It's fun."


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