After throwing nearly 27,000 stuffed animals on the ice, perhaps Hitmen fans were too worn out to toss their hats.
Kyle Bortis scored his first WHL hat-trick, which resulted in one lonely hat hitting the ice, to lead Calgary past the visiting Prince Albert Raiders 7-3 last night at the Saddledome.
Dan Mercer and Alex Plante both scored their first goals of the season, while diminutive forward Brandon Kozun and veteran Ian Duval also chipped in as the Hitmen matched a season high by lighting the lamp seven times.
"Maybe nobody was wearing hats tonight," Bortis said with a laugh. "I have one here in the dressing room that Karl Alzner got from the ice.
"So whoever owns it can have it back."
Devon LeBlanc, Ryan McDonald and Matt Robertson scored for Prince Albert while T.J. Galiardi and Paul Postma had four and three assists apiece for the Hitmen, who are tops in the Eastern Conference at 21-8-1-2.
Galiardi said he's enjoying playing with new linemates Bortis and Kozun.
"I can't say enough about those two guys," Galiardi said.
"They're playing great and we have some chemistry going.
"We had a lot of chances. We were working hard and keeping it simple."
Mercer got things started less than two minutes in when his long-range wrist shot made its way through traffic and past Calgary product Steven Stanford in the P.A. net.
Kozun and Galiardi worked a give-and-go behind the net before Kozun found Bortis all alone at the top of the crease for a 2-0 lead.
Kozun was back a couple minutes later to clean up a Paul Postma rebound on a Calgary powerplay to put the home side up 3-0.
The shots were 20-0 at that point, but the Raiders got back into the game late in the period when they were handed a bizarre 5-on-3.
With a delayed elbowing call coming against defenceman-turned-winger Eric Frere, goaltender Dan Spence pounced on the puck and was given a delay of game penalty.
LeBlanc converted on the ensuing two-man advantage.
McDonald picked Postma's pocket 1:11 into the middle frame, wheeled and put a shot into the top corner. All of a sudden, it was, inexplicably, a one-goal game.
But Bortis broke the game open with a pair of goals 18 seconds apart before Plante gave the Hitmen a 6-2 lead and chased Stanford to the bench.
Duval notched his 14th of the campaign in the third period and then Robertson closed out the scoring for the Raiders, who were outshot 44-21 on the night.
The Hitmen are back at the 'Dome Saturday night to host the Moose Jaw Warriors (7 p.m.).
The Sun's three stars were Kyle Bortis, T.J. Galiardi and Paul Postma, all from the Hitmen ... RW Carson McMillan extended his points streak to seven games with a third-period assist ... Bortis is now on a six-game point streak ... Calgary is 9-0-1-1 in its last 11 outings ... D Karl Alzner and C Ryan White will attend Team Canada's world junior camp starting Monday ... Rookie forward Chase Schaber will suit up for Team Pacific at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in London, Ont. (Dec. 29-Jan. 4) ... The Hitmen will auction off their special, one-of-a-kind Teddy Bear Toss jerseys at Saturday's game against the Moose Jaw Warriors.