Dreadful start irks coaches

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

March Madness kicked off last night -- in the Calgary Hitmen dressing room.

After another lacklustre effort resulted in a 2-1 OT loss to the visiting Regina Pats -- the Hitmen coaching staff held a lengthy closed-door meeting to try to find an answer to the club's recent woes.

Calgary (45-18-3-3) dropped their season-high fifth straight. GM/head coach Kelly Kisio said he's frustrated by his players' refusal to show up and play hard in the opening period.

"Some guys aren't showing up until the second or third period," Kisio fumed. "We didn't generate anything in the first two periods and didn't work hard enough to generate anything. If you have to wait 40 minutes for the guys to get desperate, you're going to be in trouble."

Matt Robinson sent the crowd of 14,453 home disappointed when he tapped in a Kyle Ross centring pass just 26 seconds into sudden death.

Inexplicably, the Hitmen have managed to stay within striking distance of the Medicine Hat Tigers during the current slide. Calgary actually gained a point on the Bengals, 7-4 losers in Cranbrook last night, and now trail the division leaders by two points.

Medicine Hat is at the 'Dome tomorrow afternoon (2 p.m., The Fan 960).

Forward Brodie Dupont lamented another slow start from his squad and said he's not sure why the offence is drying up at the most inopportune time.

"I don't know," Dupont said. "If you find it, let us know.

"We can't keep saying we're running into hot goaltenders. We have to start playing in the first period.

"When we get down a goal, it's like OK, it's time to get going now.' So then we buzz them in the third period and take control of the game."

Trailing 1-0 midway through the third and showing little life, the Hitmen caught a crucial break when Dansereau's long-range wrister squeezed past Pats starter David Reekie.

Petr Kalus, who sits third in scoring among WHL rookies, potted his 23rd of the season on the powerplay to give the visitors a 1-0 second-period lead. Hitmen goalie Justin Pogge made 21 stops while Reekie turned aside 20 to pick up the win.

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REGINA PATS: 2

CALGARY HITMEN: 1

OVERTIME


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