Yonkman exorcises 'Dome demons

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

The last time Travis Yonkman started a game at the Saddledome, he left with a broken collarbone.

Last night, he broke the Calgary Hitmen's hearts.

Yonkman made 48 saves, many of the acrobatic variety, to backstop the visiting Swift Current Broncos to a 3-2 overtime victory.

"Before the game, we were joking around about me playing the puck," said Yonkman, who suffered the injury after he made a pass and was run over by former Calgary ruffian Darryl Moscaluk.

"I said I wouldn't tonight."

He didn't have time. The 18-year-old 'tender was too busy diving all over the crease to stymie the Hitmen time and time again.

Calgary, which dropped its fourth straight, led 2-0 with under four minutes to play on goals by Ryan White and Keegan Dansereau.

But Brady Leavold potted a powerplay marker with 3:26 left and, with Yonkman on the bench, Geordie Wudrick tied it up with 22.5 ticks on the clock.

Leavold won it 1:26 into sudden death and Yonkman left the building in a totally different state of mind than he did Oct. 23, 2005.

"I was in a lot of pain on the ice and after I went to the dressing room," he recalled.

"I sat upright in my seat for six hours on the way home, rocking back and forth. It'll be a lot better bus ride tonight."

The loss for the Hitmen was costly as they gave away a crucial point they could have desperately used in the tight Central Division.

Calgary (24-17-1-3) remains in fourth spot, just three points ahead of the surging Lethbridge Hurricanes. White, who is two points off the league scoring lead, said his club needs to find a killer instinct before it's too late.

"That guy played well," White said of Yonkman. "But we've got to bear down.

"We had 50 shots. We can't just be scoring two goals. We had to bury these guys when we had the chance in the second period.

"Lethbridge is creeping up on us and if we don't turn it around, it's going to be a short season."

Calgary starter Martin Jones, who was just minutes away from picking up his first WHL shutout, made 18 stops as his record fell to 5-3-0.

The Hitmen enjoyed a large territorial advantage in the scoreless opening period, outshooting the visitors 17-5. Yonkman made a brilliant stop with a second to play, sprawling to rob Derek LeBlanc on a rebound attempt from the side of the net.

Calgary came up empty on a flurry of chances before White finally golfed a rebound over the goal-line near the midway mark of the second period on the club's 30th shot on net. White's 21st of the season ended a scoreless drought of 97:37 on home ice for the Hitmen.

HIT PARADE:

The three stars were Broncos G Travis Yonkman, Broncos RW Brady Leavold and Hitmen C Ryan White ... Not dressed for the Hitmen were D Dylan Yeo (foot), LW Brendan Rowinski (shoulder), RW Robin Figren (concussion) and D Michael Stone ... The Hitmen host red-hot Kootenay tomorrow.


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