Tired Hitmen deserve a break

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

Not only did the Calgary Hitmen punch a ticket into the second round of the WHL playoffs, they're also getting some much-needed time off. Thanks to their 4-1 Eastern Conference quarter-final series victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Calgary kids won't play their next game until later this week against either the Brandon Wheat Kings or Red Deer Rebels.

That means the bruises have time to heal, the muscles can rebuild and the brain can take a break from the intensity of post-season hockey.

Hitmen co-coach Dean Evason said the club is welcoming the time off before Round 2.

"It was only five games but they were very intense hockey games, very physical games," said Evason, whose club won two overtime tilts against the Hurricanes. "And any time we can get an opportunity to rest some bumps and bruises, it should be to our advantage."

After clinching the series Friday night in Lethbridge with a 2-1 overtime win, the Hitmen came away nearly unscathed in terms of injuries.

Defenceman Brett Carson suffered a charley horse in Game 3 but didn't miss any action.

"These days off are going to help get my leg right back up to 100 percent," said Carson, 19.

"And the extra rest will help, too, because we've been playing some pretty tough games and everyone's pretty tired."

The Hitmen won't practise until Tuesday.

For rookies like rearguard Karl Alzner, the series against the 'Canes was their first foray in into the WHL post-season and the fast pace and constant hitting was draining.

"The last bunch of our games were pretty tiring. We've been doing lots of killing, penalty killing, so it's good just to rest and not skate for a couple of days and just lie around," said the

16-year-old.

"It'll help us all get back into the swing of things so we're ready for the next round."


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