Swede return for the Hitmen

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

Freddie Pettersson, the Calgary Hitmen's other world junior star, never crossed paths with his teammate during the tournament.

But, like everyone else in the country, he did see what Justin Pogge accomplished over the 11-day event.

"Sweet goalie," Pettersson said, cracking into a grin.

"He's amazing. You can't really say any more than that."

Pogge was a perfect 6-0, with a record three shutouts and led the tourney with a 1.00 GAA and .952 save percentage.

Pettersson was no slouch himself, picking up three goals and five points for Team Sweden.

He assisted on the game-winner as Sweden beat the Czechs 3-1 to finish in fifth spot.

"I thought we had a better team," he said. "We finished in fifth place, which isn't too bad for Sweden."

But Pettersson, who returned to the lineup last night as Calgary beat Kootenay 5-3, is still bristling over losing to the hated Finns.

"It's kind of like what USA and Canada has," he said of the heated rivalry.

"I still think we could have beat Finland. We were very mad after that game. The last goal, their guy was standing in the crease. The whole tournament, the refs were hard about that.

"Then, in the playoffs, nothing."

Most world junior players are now enjoying a belated Christmas break. But not Pettersson. He's not happy unless he's on the ice.

He was the only player who took yesterday's optional morning skate, although his teammates were still groggy after travelling all night on the way back from a successful 3-0 road trip through Saskatchewan.

"I want to play hockey," he says. "I'm playing a lot of games but that's what I want to do."

Head coach Kelly Kisio couldn't pencil his name into the lineup fast enough. Although he has relied on -- and received -- a balanced scoring attack, having his only true gamebreaker back takes pressure off the still-shorthanded squad.

"He's one of our leading scorers, so it's great to have him back," Kisio said of Pettersson, who, despite missing nine games, sits just a point off the team scoring lead.

"We have been relying on scoring by committee. But it's nice to have a guy who's a natural scorer."

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HIT PARADE: The Hitmen won their fourth game in five nights, dumping the Ice 5-3 at the 'Dome. Ryan White, Steve Covington, Brodie Dupont, Dylan Yeo and Keegan Dansereau scored for Calgary, which improved to 30-10-1-0 on the season ... The Hitmen may have filled their vacant overage spot with d-man Shaden Moore. The former Rebel was recently released by Lethbridge Hurricanes and watched last night's game ... ... Not dressed for Calgary last night were G Justin Pogge, C Brett Sonne (shoulder, day-to-day), D Alex Plante (hip, day-to-day) and C Riley Merkley (knee, 7-10 days) ... The Hitmen host the Lethbridge Hurricanes Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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CALGARY HITMEN: 5

KOOTENAY ICE: 3


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