Hosts get off the Snide

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

Two shots, two goals against.

But the Calgary Hitmen still got the two points.

The Hitmen found themselves behind the eight-ball before some fans had even taken their seats.

But the home side dug themselves out of the early hole and rebounded for a 4-3 win over the Red Deer Rebels last night at the Saddledome.

Kyle Bortis, Brandon Kozun, Ian Schultz and Bostjan Golicic scored for the Hitmen, who improved to a WHL-best 11-3.

Hitmen head coach Dave Lowry said he never considered pulling rookie goaltender Michael Snider after he gave up two goals in the first 2:15 of the game.

"It's tough when he has a defenceman in front of him who tries to grab the puck (out of the air) and then pull his hand away at the last second," Lowry said of the blooper-reel opening goals that put the Hitmen in the hole.

"The second goal was a tip. To Michael's credit, he found a way to keep his composure, and he made some big saves at critical times."

He saved his best for last when Rebels forward Cody Gross found himself behind Snider but mishandled the puck.

The freshman 'tender pounced on it with 3.4 seconds left to preserve the victory.

Carter Smith, Tyler Penny and Tomas Polak scored for the Rebels (4-6-0-5).

Trailing 4-2 in the third, the Rebels made a game of it by outshooting the hosts 14-4 over the final 20 minutes.

Polak's goal with 8:39 remaining made for some tense moments, but the Calgary squad managed to hold on for its ninth win in 10 home games.

Brett Sonne, who had a pair of assists, credited the Rebels for refusing to go quietly.

"They're a good team," Sonne said.

"They have a lot of hard-working guys with skill.

"When you don't play a full 60 minutes against them, they're going to sting you.

"Fortunately for us, we were able to get back on the horse."

The visiting Rebels couldn't have asked for a better start to the game, scoring on their first two shots 19 seconds apart to take a 2-0 lead at the 2:15 mark.

Bortis got one back late in the period when his backhander found its way through a wild scramble.

And the Hitmen completely dominated the middle stanza, outshooting the visitors 22-5 and scoring three unanswered goals.

The Hitmen powerplay produced two goals -- the ninth straight game the club has notched at least one man-advantage tally.

The Hitmen were 2-for-7 on the powerplay and neutralized the Rebels on all three of their man-advantages.


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