Tiger by tail

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

They don't control their own destiny.

But the Calgary Hitmen gave themselves a chance yesterday to nail down top spot in the Central Division.

Brodie Dupont scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season and rookie Brett Sonne sniped the game-winner in the third period as the Hitmen edged Medicine Hat 3-2.

Calgary (46-18-3-3) snapped a five-game losing skid and moved into a first-place tie with the Tigers, who hold a game in hand.

The Hitmen need to win their last two games (Lethbridge and Red Deer) and hope the Hat loses to Lethbridge, Swift Current or Regina.

If the clubs finish the season tied, the Hitmen hold the tie-breaker based on most wins.

Early penalty troubles had the home side on its heels in the first period.

Dupont was whistled for a holding infraction that created, and then negated, a Shaden Moore breakaway. To add insult to injury, Tommy Maxwell scored on the ensuing powerplay to put the Bengals in front.

Before Dupont reported to the bench to have his ear chewed on by GM/head coach Kelly Kisio, the New York Rangers prospect made amends by scoring just 11 seconds later.

"Yeah, I was in the box for their first one," Dupont said. "So when I scored, I thought 'whew, now I can go to the bench.' "

Tyler Ennis and Dupont traded second-period markers, setting the stage for the biggest goal of Sonne's career.

The freshman took a nice drop pass from Keegan Dansereau and snapped a shot that went off Tigers starter Matt Keetley's glove, hit the post and dropped over the line.

"It was nice to get that one," Sonne said. "It was one of the luckier goals I've gotten but I'll take it."

The win clinched second spot in the Eastern Conference, giving the Hitmen home-ice advantage through the first two rounds.

The Hitmen won their regular-season home finale in front of 17,106 fans.

The big crowd boosted Calgary's total to 320,873, second only to last year's NHL lockout-aided total of 362,227.

Dupont, who has goals in five of the last six outings, said the 'W' did wonders for the club's confidence as it looks to crack the 100-point barrier for the third time in franchise history.

"It definitely changed the mood in the dressing room," Dupont said.

HIT PARADE: The three stars were Hitmen LW Brodie Dupont, Hitmen C Brett Sonne and Tigers D Kris Russell ... Not dressed for Calgary were D Dylan Yeo (wrist, two months), D Curtis Kelner and RW Ryan Letts ... The Hitmen finish up the regular season on the road next weekend, Friday in Lethbridge and Saturday in Red Deer.


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