Moose set loose

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

The last time Brodie Dupont saw the Lethbridge Hurricanes, he was making life a living hell for sniper Jonathan Filewich.

The Moose spent a large portion of the Hitmen's five-game first-round playoff victory over the 'Canes last spring chewing on Filewich's ear -- figuratively speaking, of course.

Now, since the 20-year-old Lethbridge sniper has graduated from the league, Dupont will be looking for someone new to terrorize when the Hurricanes visit the 'Dome tonight (7 p.m., The Fan 960).

"I don't know," Dupont said when asked who his new target would be.

"Filewich is gone. So it'll be whoever tries to get them going, I guess."

Dupont and Co. had the Hurricanes' number last year. Not only did Calgary author their first-round playoff ouster, but also compiled a 3-1-1-1 advantage during the regular season.

The sophomore winger said it's something they can build on, despite the large player turnover.

"The guys who were here, we know how we did against them," the New York Rangers prospect said. "But every team changes a lot every season."

Hitmen centre Riley Merkley said it's easier to maintain a winning attitude against familiar teams.

"You can take that from year-to-year, especially in your own division," Merkley said. "The other divisions, the American teams, maybe not so much because you only play them once or twice a year.

"But in your own division, you remember those big victories."

Head-to-head winning streaks have the ability to take on lives of their own. As the losses pile up, it starts to creep into the players' minds. Just look at the Prince Albert Raiders, who haven't won at the 'Dome since 1995 -- a span of 29 games.

"Obviously, P.A.'s a bit of a rarity," Merkley said. "I think it's been almost 11 years. I know some of the guys with P.A. and during the summer, it's kind of funny to bring it up.

"It'd be nice to get something like that going against a team in your own division. But in our division, it's pretty tough to get a year-long streak going, never mind a decade-long."

The club's 4-0 start is the best in franchise history. Not even the powerhouse clubs of the late '90s were able to win their first four, although the '98-99 squad went 9-0-2 to kick things off. A year later, Calgary went 7-0-1 en route to a franchise-record 120-point campaign. Dupont, who has a goal and four points as well as a shootout winner, said the team is starting to feed off its early-season success.

"Hopefully, we can just keep it rolling," he said. "We're confident but we know our work ethic has to go even higher.

"We're the team to beat right now and teams are going to want to be the ones to beat us."

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HIT PARADE: Calgary's powerplay is No. 2 in the WHL (6-20, 30%) while the 'Canes are 7th (6-27, 22.2%) ... LW Colton Yellow Horn leads Lethbridge with eight points (2-6-8) ... 'Canes G Kevin Opsahl is 3-1 with a 2.95 GAA and .908 save percentage ... The Hitmen host the Red Deer Rebels tomorrow at 5 p.m.


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