Hitmen talkin' garbage

SCOTT FISHER, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

There's a hockey team in town that plays at the Saddledome.

You may have heard of them.

Best goaltender in the league. A dominant defence corps. And a serious problem putting the puck in the net.

While this might describe the Calgary Flames, it's the Hitmen we're talking about here.

The Hitmen, who tonight host the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final (7 p.m. at the 'Dome, The Fan 960), are looking to spark offence that has barely flickered all season.

And there's only one way to do it. Tighten up the chinstraps and prepare to pay the price in the slot.

Brodie Dupont and linemate Ryan White tied for the team scoring lead with 53 points, which was good for a share of 45th in the WHL.

"We need to bang in some greasy ones and get our game going," Dupont said of club's commitment to garbage goals.

"And we have to crash the net and get in (Lethbridge rookie 'tender Justin) Leclerc's face, create some traffic in front of him.

"That's how we score our goals. We have to get back to simple hockey."

Dupont deflected a Jeff Schultz shot past Leclerc early in Game 1, accounting for all of the scoring for the squad's top four marksmen through two games.

White, Freddie Pettersson and captain Brett Carson have chipped in with an assist each.

Some of the credit must go to the Hurricanes' checking line of Mark Olafson, Michael Kaye and Kris Hogg. But with the series, tied at a game apiece, shifting to the 'Dome, the Hitmen will have last change.

Head coach Kelly Kisio will have an easier time getting his top line away from the checkers.

"They have a good checking line and they work hard, they're big and they're pretty smart," Dupont said. "We control the change now so we could get away from them. I don't know what Kisio's plans are but even if we match up against them, we have to come ready to play."

Pettersson, who played a big role in Calgary's 5-1 record against Lethbridge during the regular season, just needs some ice time.

The Hitmen were shorthanded for large chunks of the first two games and, since the Swedish import doesn't kill penalties, he's been on the bench far too much.

"It's harder in the playoffs because everyone is being checked closer," Pettersson said.

"They've played pretty good but we just need to work hard and play our game."

- - -

BEST-OF-SEVEN SERIES TIED 1-1.

GAME 3 TONIGHT, 7 P.M.


Photos