Late collapse costs Hitmen

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

Fourteen seconds.

That's all it took for the Calgary Hitmen to watch two points go down the drain.

The Hitmen were less than two minutes away from their second straight shutout victory when the roof caved in.

Brandon Sutter tied the game at one with 1:32 to play and Roman Wick struck 14 seconds later as the Red Deer Rebels escaped with a 2-1 victory last night at the 'Dome.

Hitmen GM/head coach Kelly Kisio ripped his team not just for the late-game meltdown but for an entire 60 minutes of listless play.

"A lot of our guys were just pathetic tonight," Kisio said. "(The Rebels) wanted it a hell of a lot more than we did tonight."

Calgary fell to 18-8-0-0 and blew a chance to move alongside Medicine Hat atop the Central Division standings.

Rebels bench boss Brent Sutter called a timeout with 1:51 left in regulation.

His son, Brandon, put the visitors on the board 19 seconds later when he dug a puck out from behind the net and threw a bad-angle backhander on net that somehow eluded Hitmen starter Daniel Spence.

With the stunned Hitmen still reeling, Wick took a pass in close and deked to his forehand to beat Spence.

"We had our best defensive players out there and they got outworked," Kisio said. "We went fishing for pucks instead of finishing bodies."

The victory snapped Red Deer's 10-game winless skid at the 'Dome, which dated back to Dec. 14, 2003.

Riley Merkley's sixth goal of the season with 1:01 to play in the middle stanza accounted for Calgary's offence.

Hitmen captain Brett Carson, whose team won the first four games against the Rebels this season by a combined score of 16-4, said there was an inexplicable lack of intensity for a Calgary-Red Deer tilt.

"I don't think we took them lightly but we weren't prepared to go to work like they were," Carson said.

"We should have been up for a game against Red Deer but we weren't. It's disappointing to lose, especially to a rival like them.

"Inconsistency has been a problem on our team all year. We have to figure it out soon and go to work at practice this week.

HIT PARADE: The three stars were Red Deer G James Reimer, Calgary C Riley Merkley and Red Deer LW Roman Wick ... Not dressed for Calgary were RW Keegan Dansereau (concussion, day to day), D Dustin Kohn (knee, day to day), RW Ryan Letts, LW Cam Lilley ... The Hitmen visit the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday before returning home to face the Swift Current Broncos Saturday (7 p.m. at the 'Dome).


Videos

Photos