Hitmen feel whisker burn

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

MEDICINE HAT -- The Hitmen are still in first place.

But only by a feline's whisker.

The Medicine Hat Tigers beat Calgary 3-1 last night in the Gas City to move to within a point of the Hitmen atop the Central Division and WHL standings.

The Bengals also hold a game in hand.

With 17 powerplays handed out -- nine to the Tigers -- the game turned into a special teams battle, which played right into the hands of the talented home side.

Troy Helm and Gord Baldwin connected with the man advantage while the Hitmen came up dry on eight opportunities.

Calgary GM/head coach Kelly Kisio said his club needs to show more discipline in big games.

"In this building, against a skilled team like that, you can't take penalties," Kisio said.

"It was our third game in three nights and I thought our legs were okay but, mentally, I don't think we were real sharp."

Brett Robertson also lit the lamp in front of the home side's 127th consecutive sellout crowd of 4,006.

Ryan White broke Flames prospect Matt Keetley's shutout bid late in the third period.

Trailing 2-0, the Hitmen thought they were back in it when Freddie Pettersson stepped over the blueline and unleashed a laser over Keetley's shoulder. But Tigers 'tender, who picked up his league-leading 36th win of the season, was bailed out by a late offside whistle.

Robertson scored 16 seconds later to essentially put the game on ice. White, whose club also had a goal called back in its last trip to the Hat, said the change in momentum was a backbreaker.

"It was a tough break there," White said. "Freddie made a nice play and it was a questionable offside call.

"If it was the right call, fair enough. But we have to better off the faceoff and not let them come down, put the puck in the net and get the momentum."

White picked Helm's pocket in the attacking zone, spun around and put a wrister in the same spot Pettersson hit with 2:55 left.

The Hitmen (43-16-2-0), 2-2-0-0 against Medicine Hat this season, will host the Tigers twice next month (March 5 and 12) with first place on the line.

HIT PARADE: The three stars were Tigers C Brett Robertson, Tigers D Kris Russell and Hitmen C Ryan White ... Not dressed for Calgary were D Dylan Yeo (wrist, 6-8 weeks), D Shaden Moore (ankle, week-to-week) and RW Ryan Letts ... The Hitmen play three road games in as many nights next weekend beginning in Regina Friday (6 p.m., The Fan 960). They'll also visit Brandon (Saturday, 6:30 p.m.) and Moose Jaw (Sunday, 6 p.m.).


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