Hitmen take series lead

Calgary Hitmen forward Ryan Getzlaf (15) hits Brandon Wheat Kings' Lance Monych (18) in third...

Calgary Hitmen forward Ryan Getzlaf (15) hits Brandon Wheat Kings' Lance Monych (18) in third period WHL playoff action in Calgary on Tuesday, April 12, 2005. (Calgary Sun/Jim Wells)

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

The Calgary Hitmen's season-long slogan has been: It's Played on Our Terms.

Last night, it was.

After two offensively charged games in Brandon in which the teams combined for 11 and six goals, the Hitmen were able to play their style.

Shaun Landolt scored in the first period, Konstantin Pushkarev lit the lamp in the second and the Calgary checkers did the rest, shutting down the WHL's highest-scoring team as the Hitmen beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 3-1.

Team captain Ryan Getzlaf, who iced the game late in the final frame, said last night's game played to his club's strengths.

"We don't want to get into a scoring battle, especially against that team," Getzlaf said.

"They scored about 250 goals this season and had three guys who were 1-2-3 in scoring.

"The last thing we want to do is run and gun with them.

"Tonight was more the type of style we want to play."

Calgary conceded the game's first goal and then played sound defensive hockey over the final 50 minutes to earn a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal.

Game 4 goes tonight at the 'Dome (7 p.m., The Fan 960, Shaw TV).

The Hitmen had their fans white-knuckling their seats throughout the regular season due to their penchant for blowing leads but there was no cause for concern last night.

Getzlaf blasted a slapshot past Tyler Plante with just 1:15 remaining to put the game on ice.

The goal touched off a minor brouhaha after Calgarian Ryan Stone hit Getzlaf after the puck was in.

Both teams' top players threw punches and caused a pileup in the Brandon zone.

All 10 players on the ice were sent to the penalty box.

Landolt, who also drew an assist on Getzlaf's goal, said his club was a lot more comfortable playing in a low-scoring affair.

"A 3-1 score is a little more of what we expected, instead of the 5-1s and 10-1s," Landolt said.

"It was a lot tighter checking and we came out on top."

And the powerplays were clicking early with both teams converting on their first man-advantage situations.

Czech import Jakub Sindel put the visitors on top when his long-range slapper from the line beat Pogge between the pads.

But Calgary replied a minute later when Landolt took a pass from Getzlaf and fired a missile over Plante's glove.

The Hitmen grabbed the lead three minutes into the middle stanza.

Pushkarev sent a pass to Brett O'Malley and then circled behind the net. O'Malley attempted a pass into the slot that was deflected and landed on the stick of Pushkarev, who roofed it for his second of the post-season.

Calgary nearly padded its lead before the end of the period.

Following a brilliant Pushkarev rush, the puck bounced in front of the net to Getzlaf. The Calgary captain made a move to his backhand but had the puck roll off his stick as he shot.

Plante made a big stop off Riley Merkley a minute later when he slid across with the right pad to steal a sure goal from the sophomore centre.

The Hitmen outshot Brandon 31-29 last night.


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