Defence mans up offensively

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

They say defence wins championships.

That certainly must be true when your defence is your best offence.

Hitmen blueliners combined for five goals -- all on the powerplay -- as the home team beat the Regina Pats 7-4 yesterday at the Saddledome.

Michael Stone and Keith Seabrook each had a pair, while Paul Postma, the WHL's top-scoring defenceman, chipped in with a goal and three assists in a game that was dominated by special teams.

Slovenian import Bostjan Golicic also scored twice, as the Hitmen recorded a franchise-record six powerplay goals.

"You can't have the same guys scoring every night," said Postma, who has done exactly that for the past couple of weeks as he extended his points streak to seven games.

"Sometimes, you get your offence from the forwards. But the D likes to contribute, and we definitely did (yesterday)."

Seabrook, who scored his ninth and 10th goals of the campaign on shots from the point, said the entire blueline corps played well yesterday.

"It's nice when you're playing well defensively, getting the puck up quick to the forwards," Seabrook said.

"And when they're in front of the net for you, it's easy to put them in."

Calgary's Big Three weren't the only blueliners racking up the points, though.

Pats defender Jesse Dudas was in on all four of his team's goals -- two by Matt Robertson and singles from world junior star Jordan Eberle and Tomas Hricina.

The Pats somehow found themselves down by only a goal after Robertson converted a nice three-way passing play just 1:06 into the final frame.

But Golicic answered 2:18 later with the eventual game winner, splitting the Pats D, walking in alone and roofing a wrist-shot over goalie Damien Ketlo's blocker.

Eberle trimmed the lead again, but Seabrook and Golicic both notched their second goals of the day with the man-advantage.

The Hitmen finished 6-for-12 on the powerplay -- and outshot their opponents 51-18 -- while the Pats scored on three of eight opportunities.

Goalie Martin Jones, who won his 17th straight start on home ice, picked up his league-leading 31st win of the season, as the Hitmen improved to 42-7-2-1.

Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is one, and the team could have a post-season berth sewn up before they take the ice for their next game, Friday in Lethbridge.

Hricina got credit for a weird opening goal. Jones stopped the Slovak's original shot, but the rebound went off Hitmen defender Austin Madaisky and trickled through the 'tender's pads over the line.

Seabrook brought the home side even on a powerplay at the midway point of the period. Ketlo got a piece of the Washington Capitals prospect's one-timer but not enough to keep it out.

There was a steady stream of Pats heading to the penalty box in the second period, and the Hitmen made them pay.

Stone scored a pair of goals, both on two-man advantages, 54 seconds apart, before Postma added another powerplay marker as the Hitmen seized control of the game.

Stone scored his first on a designed play that sees him rush the net from his spot on the blueline. He arrived at the top of the crease and deposited Postma's rebound past Ketlo. The Phoenix Coyotes prospect scored his 16th of the season on the next shift, hammering a slapshot off the post and in.

Postma joined the party a few minutes later, wiring a one-timer through a screen.

The Pats, who were outshot 23-4 in the period, cut the lead to 4-2 with a powerplay tally of their own.

Dudas' point shot was blocked, but the puck went to the side of the net and Robertson had an easy tap-in.


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