Hitmen hoping for hometown help

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

The first comeback felt pretty nice.

And if the Calgary Hitmen want to go the Memorial Cup, they'll have to do it twice.

The Hitmen battled back from a 2-0 deficit in Round 2 against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

They find themselves in similar dire straights, this time against arguably the best team in the WHL.

Right winger Freddie Pettersson said his team gained confidence from battling back to beat the Wheaties in six games.

"We came back from 2-0 then and we're looking to do the same thing this series," Pettersson said.

The Hitmen will need a better effort tonight (7 p.m. at the 'Dome) if they're going to get back in the series.

Pettersson said the Hitmen will benefit from the home crowd, although the numbers have inexplicably dwindled as the team forges through the playoffs.

The club averaged 9,173 in the opening round against Kootenay but just 7,232 for the Wheat Kings series.

"Sure, it's a lot more fun when there are more people there," Pettersson said.

"Hopefully, especially now that we're in the third round, there will be 15,000 people. That would be unreal."

The Hitmen witnessed firsthand how a crowd can boost the home team's fortunes in Medicine Hat where the rabid, sold out Arena got behind the Tigers.

"We need to get our crowd going," Pettersson said. "We've seen what kind of a push they get from their fans.

"The first 10 minutes is going to set the bar for the rest of the game. We need to play Hitmen hockey."

TIGERS TARGETS

The Hitmen were frustrated with a number of penalty calls Saturday night.

Ryan White's double minor for checking Hat d-man Kris Russell from behind, a late delay of game penalty to goaltender Dan Spence and misconducts to captain Dylan Yeo and Brodie Dupont left many players shaking their heads.

But Yeo said his club will continue to play physical.

"We want to go out and hit their top guys, try to slow them down," Yeo said. "We got penalized for it. So be it.

"That's not going to stop us from hitting them next game."

HIT PARADE

The Tigers have scored three of their six goals with the man advantage. Calgary is 1-for-8 with the extra man ... Calgary has 597 games of WHL playoff experience while the Tigers have 559 games.


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