Swede sensation

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

Goaltenders, consider yourself warned.

Freddie's just getting warmed up.

Import winger Freddie Pettersson scored his first two WHL goals yesterday as the Calgary Hitmen slammed the Red Deer Rebels 5-1 at the 'Dome.

"I felt better," the Edmonton Oilers prospect said. "I had the puck more tonight.

"It was a little easier because I got a few passes at the start and I was ready."

Riley Merkley, Steve Covington and Brodie Dupont also scored for the Hitmen, who won both games of the home-and-home set against Red Deer.

Pettersson, playing in just his second game, said he's starting to get comfortable.

"I have two games in the baggage," said the Swede, who's obviously working on his slang.

"So I know how to play now. I'm at about 70 percent of my capabilities. I can do more but I need to play more games."

With the Hitmen up 4-1 in the third, Pettersson got behind the Rebels defence but, by the time the pass got to him, was in too tight to get much of a shot off.

The 18-year-old gobbled up his own rebound and roofed it over James Reimer -- who took over to start the third -- from the side of the net to give every fan in attendance a free promotional hamburger for the team's fifth goal.

Pettersson said he hasn't set a personal goal for individual points but he's enjoying Calgary's first 2-0 start since the 2001-02 campaign.

"Yeah, and against Red Deer too," he beamed. "We don't like them."

The NHL's return took its expected toll on the Hitmen gate as the announced crowd of 7,340 (and there appeared to be less than that in the seats) was a far cry from the huge numbers the team drew during the lockout.

Calgary starter Justin Pogge had another uneventful outing as Calgary outshot the visitors 30-19.

The Hitmen wasted little time, taking control of the game on the opening shift.

With the Hitmen on the powerplay, Merkley broke into the slot and sent a soft backhander on net that Andrew Leslie turned aside. But the veteran centre followed up and stuffed home his own rebound to put Calgary up just 1:08 after the opening faceoff.

The Hitmen powerplay struck again on a bit of a weird one six minutes later.

Covington broke the blade off his stick by deflecting Justin Falk's point shot. The puck sat underneath Leslie's pads but when the goaltender scrambled back to his feet, he kicked the puck into his own net.

The usual nastiness was largely missing from the season opener in Red Deer but those civilities ended yesterday.

Kyle Klym ran into Pogge, drawing an immediate response from Alex Plante, although both combatents went to the ice quickly. Darryl Moscaluk and, in the second period, Darryl Yacboski took turns knocking Red Deer's Pierre-Paul Lamoureux to the ice in a pair of bouts.

The Rebels hit the scoreboard on the powerplay early in the middle frame when Shaden Moore sent a wrister past a thoroughly screened Pogge.

But the Hitmen answered with a pair of goals just 44 seconds apart.

Pettersson picked up his first of the afternoon on a rebound for Calgary's third powerplay goal of the afternoon.

Brodie Dupont gave the Men in Black a little more breathing room.

The N.Y. Rangers prospect held onto the puck, let Paul Kurceba and Shaden Moore run into each other, and then beat Leslie between the pillows to give the home side a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.


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