Unhappy ending

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

Ryan Getzlaf knew he needed a monster performance. And he nearly delivered.

The Hitmen captain, playing in all likelihood his final junior hockey game, failed to hit the scoresheet for just the second time this post-season.

But he couldn't have come closer.

Getzlaf could have changed the entire landscape of last night's Game 7 but clanked a shot off the iron just 15 seconds in.

"We set out to get that first goal and to have an opportunity early like that ... I hit the post on a wide-open net that I'll probably score on 9 1/2 times out of 10," Getzlaf said.

"I thought at least, it would hit the post and go in. It's not too often I hit the post from there with that much net to shoot at."

Getzlaf, who had a 10-game points streak halted last night as the Hitmen bowed out of the playoffs with a 3-1 loss in Brandon, said the near miss was a glimpse of what the whole series was like.

But he credited the Wheat Kings, who battled back from a 3-1 series deficit, and singled out rookie goaltender Tyler Plante as the opposition's MVP.

"Plante played a heck of a game. He came back after letting in six goals in that first game and played a great series," he said.

Getzlaf, 19, will surely graduate to the pro ranks next season, either with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks or, if the NHL lockout is still dragging out, the club's AHL affiliate in Cincinnati.

The Regina product, who has the potential to make the biggest NHL impact of any Hitmen player ever drafted, said he hasn't started to think about the future just yet. He would have plenty of time during last night's 12-hour bus ride back to the Stampede City.

"It's a tough way to go out," he said.

"It'll be a tough ride. We have a long time to think about this."

Getzlaf said he'll take nothing but fond memories from his four seasons in Calgary.

"Calgary has been great. It's an unbelievable city. I just have to say a lot of 'thank-yous' ... It'll be a long, hard goodbye."


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