Arena rocks

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

Brett Carson knows what the Hitmen are up against in the 'Crushed Can.'

The Calgary captain has played more games in the old Moose Jaw barn than anyone else on the team.

The 6-ft. 5-in., 210-pounder was drafted by the Warriors and, as a 15-year-old, played in the final six games of the 2001-02 season as well as all 12 playoff games.

The following year, during his official rookie season, he suited up for 28 games with the Warriors before being shipped to Calgary in a six-player blockbuster deal.

Carson is aware the Civic Centre, which hosts Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal tonight (7 p.m., Shaw TV), isn't the most cordial rink for visiting teams.

"You get the fans behind you there, that's for sure," said Carson, who came to Calgary Jan. 8, 2003, along with Ryan Annesley, Lee Zalasky and Shaun Landolt in exchange for Owen Fussey and Johnny Boychuk.

"It's nice when you're on their team but there have been times, like this year in the playoffs, when the fans have went a little overboard."

The debacle Carson is referring to occurred in the opening round. The Warriors were fined $2,500, the largest fine allowable under WHL bylaws, for inadequate security.

Moose Jaw fans accosted a number of Brandon players and showered them with bottles as the Wheat Kings were making their way off the ice following a 2-1 victory in Game 2.

Like the Medicine Hat Arena, the Crushed Can is one of the most intimidating rinks in the WHL. The Warriors lost just six games in regulation time on home ice all season. Their .792 winning percentage is second only to the Tigers' .819.

"It's a smaller rink so you need a high work ethic and compete level to outwork teams in character rinks," Carson said.

"Their quickness shouldn't be as much of a factor, it's more of a banging-and-crashing rink."

Which suits the Hitmen's style perfectly. Calgary will rely heavily on its overwhelming size advantage and grinding style to gain at least a split and retrieve home-ice advantage in the series.

The Hitmen, who had the league's second-best road record (23-12-0-1; .653), won one of two games in Moose Jaw this season.

"We know we can win in their rink," Carson said. "Now it's just a matter of going in there and doing it."


Videos

Photos