Pogge brings back all-world form for shutout

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

Ah, yes. There's the Justin Pogge the Calgary Hitmen are used to seeing.

The 19-year-old 'tender, who struggled through a shakey opening-round victory over Lethbridge, was back in all-star form yesterday.

Pogge boarded up the net, kicking out all 24 shots he faced, as the Hitmen blanked the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-0 at the 'Dome.

Jeff Schultz, suddenly an offensive dynamo in the post-season, scored a pair of goals and Riley Merkley added the insurance as Calgary grabbed a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal.

Game 2 goes today at the 'Dome (2 p.m., Shaw TV, Fan 960). Pogge wasn't overly busy but made a massive stop on Kenndal McArdle early in the second period to preserve Calgary's 1-0 lead.

"I was seeing the puck real well today," said Pogge, who picked up his first goose egg of the playoffs.

"I owe it all to my team, though. They played amazing and let me see the shots."

When he's on top of his game, the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect often plays pucks that are clearly off the mark in an attempt to stay sharp. Yesterday, it looked like he was defending a soccer cage, getting in front of every shot that was anywhere near the net.

Schultz ended Moose Jaw starter Joey Perricone's shutout streak at 185:38, the fourth-longest in WHL playoff history, with a soft wrister from the blueline 10 seconds into the middle frame.

The 6-ft. 6-in. d-man said he had no doubts Pogge would be sharp.

"He likes playing against these guys," Schultz said of his 'tender, who now sports a 1.20 GAA and .955 save percentage in five games against Moose Jaw this season. "They have some real snipers so he stepped his game up. Ever since he had that little hiccup, he's been as good as he has been all year for us."

Moose Jaw, the WHL's highest-scoring team during the regular season, went 0-for-4 with the man advantage while the Hitmen converted on two of seven opportunities. It won't get any easier for the Warriors today, who may be without WHL scoring champ Troy Brouwer, who was hurt in the third period.

- - -

CALGARY HITMEN: 3

LETHBRIDGE WARRIORS: 0

HITMEN LEAD SERIES 1-0.

GAME 2 TODAY AT 'DOME, 2 P.M.


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