Ryan flyin' up the rankings

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:30 AM ET

Ryan White didn't expect any extra ribbing from his teammates when he got to the rink yesterday.

But when the Calgary Hitmen forward arrived at the 'Dome, teammates Karl Alzner and Dustin Kohn were on him in a flash.

The reason: White is ranked No. 3 in the WHL by the NHL Central Scouting Service in its preliminary rankings, taking the Brandon, Man., product by surprise.

"Some of the boys were joking around with me. I got to the rink and Kohner and Karl were having a field day," said the 17-year-old after practice yesterday.

"They've been jarring me all day.

"But I was surprised. I didn't even know they had those or that they were coming out, so it was a real big surprise.

Heading into tonight's tilt against the Prince George Cougars (13-8-0-2) at the 'Dome (7 p.m.), the 6-ft. 190-pounder has five goals and 10 assists in 24 games.

While White acknowledged it's great to be ranked, he noted the season is still young.

"It's only November and it's nice to be mentioned in there but it doesn't mean anything yet," said White, who put up 23 points last season in his rookie year.

The Hitmen (17-7-0-0) are coming off a 3-0 road loss to the lowly Prince Albert Raiders Wednesday and the club is anxious to get back to its winning ways.

"We had a good day in practice today, had lots of jump and we were working pretty hard. We've got to get back to what was winning us games and that was forechecking well and playing smart hockey," said White.

"Having a day off on Thursday was great but everyone wants to get back to work because it's not fun sitting around at home with the taste of losing in your mouth."

The shutout loss is the second time in 11 days the Hitmen have failed to bulge the twine.

Part of the reason is the powerplay, which for most of the season was ranked second but is now seventh overall.

Against the Raiders, Calgary went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

"We've got to start putting pucks in the net. We can't just rely on our defence and Justin Pogge to stop everything," said White.

"On the powerplay, we've been struggling and we've just got to start moving the puck more and getting more shots at the net.

"We've got enough skill on our powerplay that we should be getting a lot more goals."

After tonight's game, the Hitmen entertain the Red Deer Rebels tomorrow (Saddledome, 5 p.m.), a team they've beaten four straight times this season.


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