Hitmen discover finish

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

So much for the Calgary Hitmen being the club that can't close out games.

Heading into the post-season, the WHL team had taken some knocks for letting their opponents back into contest during the third period.

Looks like those blown games are history.

So far through these playoffs, Calgary is 6-1 when leading or tied after the second period, including last night's 4-2 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The only game the Hitmen lost after leading was their opening contest of the playoffs, a 2-1 loss to Lethbridge.

Calgary assistant coach Blaine Forsythe said the demons have been exorcised.

"After that first game, it came up again and we talked about whether or not we should talk to the kids about it," he said.

"(Co-coach) Dean Evason went in after the second period (of Game 2) and talked to them and said everyone's talking about it, get it out of your heads and go play.

"Rather than avoiding the fact, the guys are now saying they're not going to give up a lead. It all comes down to competing and that extra effort getting to that loose puck. In the past, I don't think we had that extra effort."

Not only that but the Hitmen are suddenly padding leads in the final frame, as they did last night when Tyrel Lucas made it 3-1 at 8:31. The insurance goal was crucial.

Wheat King Derek LeBlanc scored 20 seconds later as the Hitmen scrambled.

But Calgary regained its composure and iced the game on Shaun Landolt's tally at 15:28.

"We didn't coach them or teach them to sit back but the guys had been tentative during the season," said Forsythe. "But now they smell blood and if there's a chance to score, they're going to score.

"It's out of our heads now."


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