Like a bad flu, the Calgary Hitmen are finding their latest slump hard to shake.
Despite a solid outing, especially in the last two periods, against a solid Kootenay Ice team at the Saddledome last night, the Hitmen still lost, falling 3-2 in overtime for their fifth consecutive defeat and second straight in overtime.
It looked as if the Hitmen (24-17-2-3) would prevail and get some much-needed medicine when Freddie Pettersson scored on a slippery backhand at 9:47 of the third.
But the Ice got the tying goal from Clayton Bauer, who jumped on a rebound with just 24 ticks left, and then won it in the extra frame when Mike Busto's pinball shot on the powerplay went in with 52 seconds left.
"You've just got to be positive because we had a great effort tonight," said Hitmen GM/head coach Kelly Kisio.
"If we keep playing with that type of effort, we'll be OK."
Never mind the Hitmen could only capitalize once --Keegan Dansereau's goal at 18:18 of the second -- on three separate two-man advantages in the second period.
In total the Hitmen enjoyed 4:08 of being up by two then saw their hopes dashed by a Bauer's powerplay tally.
"We had a bad penalty and four on three, it's a good chance to score and they did," said Pettersson, who potted his eighth of the campaign.
"I think we played really good tonight and we should have had one more goal."
For the 31-10-2-2 Ice was win number nine in a row as the Cranbrook, B.C., club has gone 10-0-2-0 in its last 12.
The visitors came out strong, dominating much of the opening frame and took a 1-0 lead into the second on Steve DaSilva's 26th goal of the season.
Kootenay outshot Calgary 16-7 in the first but gave the Hitmen a 1:36 two-man advantage that carried over into the second period.
That powerplay didn't pan out.
The Hitmen went up two men again early in the second, this time for 1:02, but again couldn't score as the Ice blocked passes, shots and got timely goaltending from Taylor Dakers.
Turns out the third two-man advantage was a charm for the Hitmen when Dansereau backhanded in the rebound off a Pettersson shot, much to the relief of the Hitmen and their fans.
Calgary outshot the Ice 17-6 in the second period.
The Hitmen were without defencemen Karl Alzner and Alex Plante, as well as forward Brett Sonne, who were all in Quebec City for tonight's CHL/NHL Prospects Game (Sportsnet, 5 p.m.).