Sonne's hat-trick ends drought

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

In what was essentially a game of pride, Brett Sonne brought some excitement to the Saddledome, notching the first hat-trick for the Calgary Hitmen in three years.

All three goals, including a shorthanded tally, came in the final frame of a 7-5 win over the Red Deer Rebels in front of a crowd of more than 14,000 fans.

It was the first hat-trick for the WHL club since Lee Zalasky did it Dec. 10, 2004, a span of 181 regular-season games, 206 including playoffs.

"It's the first one for me since I was 15 back with the Port Coquitlam Buckeroos," said Sonne, who now has 20 goals on the season.

The marker was originally awarded to Michael Stone.

Sonne later got credit as he redirected Stone's blast from the point.

"I'm just glad we got the goal," said Sonne, a Maple Ridge, B.C., product whose third of the contest was the winner.

Sonne now has six shorthanded goals which ties him for the league lead. Both Calgary (39-24-3-4) and Red Deer (34-27-4-5) had clinched playoff spots, so the points didn't mean much but there was a ton of pride on the line.

"The points don't mean anything but the momentum going into the playoffs means a hell of a lot. You can't just turn on a switch come playoff time, so these games are way more important than you'd think," said Sonne.

Hitmen locked up third place in the Central Division last Sunday and will take on the Kootenay Ice in the first round of the playoffs starting next Sunday in Cranbrook.

While last night's contest was fairly wide open, Hitmen assistant Joel Otto figures the playoffs will be more tight checking.

"We have to be aware when we do score a goal or two and it seems life is easy out there, we have to learn to play within our means and do the little things and in the third period we started to chip the puck in and play more physical. That's what we're trying to teach them," Otto said.

Also scoring for the Hitmen were Ryan White, with a pair, Freddie Pettersson and Keegan Dansereau.

Brennan Wray, Cullen Morin, Martin Hanzal, with two, and Karey Pieper tallied for the Rebels. Hitmen backup Martin Jones got the start in goal and made 20 saves for his ninth win of the season.

Hitmen forward Brodie Dupont left in the third with an undisclosed injury.

HIT PARADE:

The three stars were: Brett Sonne (Hitmen), Freddie Pettersson (Hitmen), Brennan Wray (Rebels) ... Not dressed for the Hitmen were: D Alex Plante (elbow, indefinite), F Riley Merkley (concussion, indefinite), F Brandon Kozun, F Ryan Letts, D Brett Plouffe.


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