Hitmen's blood boiling over

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

Game 1 was chippy. Game 2 got downright nasty.

Where that leaves the Calgary Hitmen and Kootenay Ice heading into tomorrow's Game 3 (7 p.m., 'Dome) is anyone's guess.

Hitmen defenceman Ryan Gillen said the old rivalry is definitely heating up.

"We knew this was going to be a hard-fought battle between two very strong teams," Gillen said.

"No one's going to go away easy."

The series opener produced 18 powerplays -- nine for each club -- though most of the infractions were obstruction-related.

But the Cranbrook Rec Plex could have used famed boxing announcer Michael Buffer to set the stage for a series of late bouts in Game 2.

First it was Hitmen power forward Brodie Dupont trying in vain to draw Kootenay's Steve DaSilva into a fight.

After Dupont was sent to the showers, everyone in the building knew what was coming next as Kootenay enforcer Luke Wiens lined up against the 6-ft. 7-in. Gillen.

That scrap ended before it started when the linesmen jumped in immediately after seeing tape on Gillen's hand.

"I heard the ref saying something but I don't know what it was," the behemoth blueliner said. "Then the linesmen jumped in there and then I clued in to what they were doing. My thumb was bothering me a little bit and I had (the tape) on just as a precaution. But it was legal. The refs might not have looked at it properly."

Gillen wasn't too happy the dance ended prematurely.

"It was pretty frustrating," he said. "I was looking forward to that. It kind of sets the tone for the next game.."

Calgary's Brett Sonne and Andrew Bailey were next on the card, while Hitmen overager Derek LeBlanc and Ian Barteaux wrapped up the festivities on the next draw.

"We want to let them know, coming into our barn, it's not going to be easy," LeBlanc said. "We're here to win."

HIT PARADE:

D Alex Plante (elbow) skated yesterday but is unlikely to play in the series.


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