Rookie netminder cools red-hot Ice

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Calgary Hitmen GM/head coach Kelly Kisio won't tip his hand but the WHL club may have a new starting goalie.

Rookie Marty Jones made 33 saves -- and a strong case for the starting job -- winning his second consecutive contest as the Hitmen downed the high-flying Kootenay Ice 3-1 last night at the Saddledome.

The Hitmen (27-19-2-4) got two powerplay goals en route to the victory.

Kisio said he's glad Jones is getting it done but wouldn't say if he'll go with the kid or veteran Dan Spence tomorrow in Spokane.

"Well, we'll talk about that (this) morning and decide then but right now Jones y's playing well and we'll see what happens," said Kisio, who went with the same lineup he iced in Sunday's 5-1 win over Kelowna.

"The guys played well last game and I didn't think there was any reason to change it."

Jones had to be good early in the first when he stopped Ryan Russell on a shorthanded breakaway, then stoned the Carolina, Alta., product on a close-in shot.

"Jonesy held the fort again today and gave us a chance to win," said Hitmen alternate captain Ryan White, who had two assists.

"Everyone beared down and we're happy with the way we're playing right now. I think we've been a little more edgy and playing with a little more jump."

Indeed, it looks like the Hitmen may have woken up from their post-Christmas slumber, especially by beating a good team like the Ice (35-13-2-2).

Calgary opened the scoring at 10:49 on a powerplay goal by Derek LeBlanc, who banked the puck in off Ice goalie Taylor Dakers' skate from behind the goal-line.

The Hitmen went up 2-0 at 8:15 of the second as Brodie Dupont's 25th of the season capped a three-way passing play with White and Keegan Dansereau.

But Kootenay got things rolling after that and relentlessly pressured the Hitmen.

Jones held the fort with a great save on Calgarian Tylan Stephens, who had a breakaway midway through the second frame.

The Ice's hard work was rewarded with a shorthanded tally from Dustin Sylvester at 17:10. Sylvester went in on a breakaway and was robbed by Jones but the rebound went in off sliding Hitmen blueliner Alex Plante.

It was the only blemish on Jones' resume last night and, unfortunately for Plante, it's his second own goal in consecutive games, both of which ruined shutouts for Jones.

Dansereau's 23rd of the season at 13:16 of the third period on the powerplay iced the game.


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