Ol' switcheroo

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

They did pretty well as the underdogs.

Let's see how they fare as the favourites.

Last spring, the Calgary Hitmen finished eight points back of Lethbridge in the WHL standings and came into their first-round series against the Hurricanes as slight underdogs.

And after posting a 3-1-1-1 record against the 'Canes during the regular season, Calgary took the series in five games.

This year, the Hitmen finished a whopping 38 points ahead of Lethbridge and owned a 5-1 record against their Central Division rival.

Centre Ryan White, who matched linemate Brodie Dupont's 53 points atop the team scoring charts, said the roles may be reversed but his squad is taking a similar attitude into the series, which begins tonight in Lethbridge.

"It's a little bit different," White said. "Last year, we went in there and we weren't expected to do much. But our guys bought in (to the system) for that series and we got the job done. The same goes for this year, we have to play the same team game."

Last year's series hinged on Calgary's ability to shut down the 'Canes' small, skilled forwards.

And while the Hitmen's bread and butter is still their strong defensive play, the Lethbridge attack is not nearly as daunting this time around.

Snipers Jonathan Filewich and Tyler Redenbach graduated and their spots have been filled by a plethora of young talent that is still a year or two away from doing some serious damage.

Colton Yellow Horn (25 goals and 75 points), who was held to a goal and three points in last year's post-season, is once again the focal point for Calgary's checkers.

"They've got enough firepower," White said of Hurricanes, who scored 195 goals, the same number as the Hitmen, during the regular season.

"Yellow Horn is a key player for them -- he was last year, too.

"We shut him down pretty good in the playoffs last year. He'll be key again. We can't let him catch fire because if we let him do his thing, he'll be trouble."

White pointed to youngsters Mitch Fadden and Zach Boychuk as other players who need to be accounted for.

"We just need to do what we did all year, play good defensively and chip in with some goals up front."

Calgary's offence has also gone downhill over the past year.

The club's 195 goals is a franchise-low.

And there's no Andrew Ladd, who torched the 'Canes for three game-winners, including back-to-back OT clinchers.

But, White said, the Hitmen no longer look to one guy, or even a single line, for its offensive production.

"We need all four lines chipping in every night," he said.

"We don't have too many guys who score a lot of goals.

"It's spread out pretty good so we don't have to count on one line to score all the goals every night.

"It's been working well.

"We just have to keep it going for the playoffs."


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