Giant test for Hitmen

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

It's a game of Giant proportions.

As regular-season tilts go, it is, without question, the biggest.

The Calgary Hitmen will host the Vancouver Giants tonight (7 p.m., Shaw TV, Fan 960) in what many are calling a preview of the WHL final.

Hitmen forward Brett Sonne isn't one of them. Not yet.

"That's a long ways away," Sonne said. "But they are one of the top teams in the league.

"And if you want to win anything, you're going to have to beat those types of teams."

The two powerhouse clubs are leading the league in every significant statistical category.

The Hitmen and Giants are the top two offensive teams in the WHL. They're also the stingiest defensively.

The Hitmen have the top-ranked powerplay and penalty killing -- the G-Men are second and third.

Not much to choose from.

"It's not too hard to get up for a game that will represent you as the top team in the league," Sonne said.

"They've obviously been an outstanding team in the west, and we've held our own in the east.

"It should be a great matchup and a good test for both teams."

Sonne said he's been aware of this game for quite some time.

"I think it's important not to get too far ahead of yourself, especially during such a long season," Sonne said.

"But when Vancouver and Calgary play, you look for that game when you look over the schedule at the start of the year.

"As it gets closer, it gets more exciting."

Tonight's tilt will reacquaint Sonne with his world junior teammate Evander Kane, who is ranked third among North American skaters for this summer's NHL Entry Draft.

"I had a chance to meet with him and hang out with him a bit (in Ottawa at the championships)," Sonne said. "They were all good guys."

Tonight, Kane and league-leading scorer Casey Pierro-Zabotel will be priority No. 1 for Hitmen defenders.

"We don't win games by outskilling teams, and we recognize that," said Sonne, who led the WHL in scoring prior to leaving for Team Canada's world junior camp.

"We have to outwork them.

"This is going to be a tough, gritty game."

While tonight's game features four of the league's top goal-scorers -- in the Giants' Kane and Hitmen teammates Sonne, Joel Broda and Brandon Kozun -- the goaltenders have been just as impressive.

Hitmen starter Martin Jones took a league-best 1.92 GAA into last night's game in Cranbrook.

Not to be outdone, Priddis' Tyson Sexsmith had a stellar 2.07 GAA for the Giants prior to last night's game in Edmonton against the Oil Kings.

They also sit No. 1 and 2 in wins. But neither received an invite to Team Canada's world junior squad.


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