Furry flurry buries Hitmen

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

There may be a Chinook blowing in Calgary now but it was a White Christmas inside the Saddledome yesterday.

Calgary Hitmen forward Ryan White played the role of Santa Claus after he scored the opening goal in yesterday's 4-0 win over the Prince George Cougars.

Upon watching White bulge the twine on a shorthanded first-period marker, the 16,380 fans threw a record amount of stuffed animals onto the ice during the annual Teddy Bear Toss.

However, after waiting half-an-hour to clear the ice of the 15,540 gifts for charity, the Hitmen didn't slow down, a worry for head coach Kelly Kisio.

"I was afraid of what was going to happen after the teddy bear timeout," said Kisio. "To try and keep our guys focused and excited was a bit of challenge but I thought they did a real good job.

"It was a good day. With all the teddy bears and with how we played, I was very happy with the end result."

Besides the flurry of furry toys, White's shorthanded goal was the story of the game for the Hitmen.

With defenceman Karl Alzner taking part in the world junior camp this week and Freddie Pettersson and Robin Figren flying home to their native Sweden to do the same, the Hitmen were reduced to three lines yesterday.

It didn't appear to be a problem as goaltender Dan Spence stopped 28 shots to get the shutout, while getting some help offensively from Keegan Dansereau, Steve Covington and Dylan Yeo.

"It was good to get that goal out of the way," said White. "We played a pretty solid game and it worked out well for us."

For Spence, who got his fifth shutout of the season, the win was vital considering the lack of bodies in the lineup.

"Everybody really stepped up and a few guys got a couple new roles," said Spence.


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