Value of Euros rising

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

There's no question the Calgary Hitmen will struggle to score goals this season.

After losing five of their top six scorers from last season, the junior club will rely on a more balanced attack.

Proven triggermen such as Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd have moved on, leaving the squad without a proven sniper.

But help may have arrived from overseas. Calgary's two imports, Czech centre Lukas Vantuch and Swedish winger Fredrik Pettersson, could put up decent numbers.

Every WHL team looks to its imports for offence. But the Hitmen are in desperate need of production from the pair.

GM/head coach Kelly Kisio said the Euros will be counted on.

"We'll be scoring by committee this year so we need everybody to chip in," Kisio said.

Pettersson, whose skating stride resembles that of veteran forward Steve Covington, clearly likes to shoot the puck, while Vantuch, a good half-foot taller than the Swede, is more of a playmaker.

The two imports ran each other over in a big open-ice collision during yesterday's intrasquad game

"I want to shoot the puck," Pettersson said. "I want to score goals.

"I don't feel pressure (to score). I'm going to try my best every game, every practice and we'll see how many goals are scored.

"But I'll give it 100 percent every game, I can promise that."

Pettersson scored once during yesterday's camp-ending Black and White game but it wasn't from a lack of shots.

Many Europeans are reluctant to pull the trigger but Kisio won't have to urge Pettersson to let it fly.

"Him and Moose (Brodie Dupont) like to shoot the puck as much as anybody," Kisio said.

"He's strong, physical and very quick. It's a good combination."

The Hitmen move to the Centennial Arenas for today's 1 p.m. workout.

The coaching staff has trimmed the roster to 28 players. And Jason Gregoire is not among them. The impressive rookie decided to head home, likely to keep his NCAA options open.

HIT PARADE: C Riley Merkley scored a hat-trick to lead Team White to a 10-9 victory over Team Black. RW Keegan Dansereau also scored a trio in a losing cause. Dansereau, who was knocked over the boards after receiving a huge hit from Curtis Kelner, also dropped the gloves with Cole Lillies.


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