Kings hope to quiet crowd

RANDY SPORTAK, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 12:23 PM ET

Ryan Stone was part of the Sea of Red a handful of times during last spring's Calgary Flames run to the Stanley Cup final. Took some time to soak up the Saddledome's playoff atmosphere, too.

So, you know full well the Brandon Wheat Kings forward imagined what it would be like to be on the ice with 18,000 wild fanatics in the seats.

"I've thought maybe I could be in here playing against the Flames in a playoff game and the barn full," said the Calgarian who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. "This year I get to do it with the Wheat Kings.

"It's gonna be a good time."

It remains to be seen whether the Saddledome will sell out tonight when the Hitmen host the Wheaties in Game 3 of their second-round series but, seeing as numbers in excess of 16,000 and 17,000 showed up in the first round, rest assured it will be close.

Stone was already anticipating the crowd after yesterday's practice.

"Very exciting," Stone said. "It's gonna be the biggest crowd I've played in front of -- it's gonna be for almost all the guys in the room.

"The key is to have a good start and not let the Hitmen come out firing and score a couple of quick ones to get the crowd extra loud."

Not everybody in the Saddledome crowd will be pro-Hitmen. Stone expects 100 or so to cheer him on.

Same thing goes for defenceman Jonathan Webb.

A product of Okotoks, Webb gets excited simply playing in the Saddledome. And this is his third WHL season.

"Sitting in the stall, you never know who's sat in that stall before and who's sat on that bench before," said Webb, who turns 20 this month.

"It's exciting moments. It's the time of my life and I'm going to use it as a great experience."

Webb also took in a few Flames playoff games so he knows how loud the 'Dome can get.

And, even though all those fans won't be behind the Wheat Kings, he can't wait to see how high the decibel count goes.

"I saw how this building ignites, so I'm excited. The crowd's going to be behind them and it'll be tough to play against them but we'll just have to overcome it.

"It'll be intimidating but I'm looking forward to it.

"I'll use it for a good effect."

Exactly the same game plan for Stone.

"First stepping out and seeing all those people might be intimidating," said the league's No. 2 point producer in both the regular season and the playoffs. "But you get those jitters out the first shift and then it'll be exciting to try and hush the crowd a bit.

"I'm going to try and use it to my advantage."


Videos

Photos