Brilliance on Hitmen blueline

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Paul Postma is thankful the regular season has come to an end.

Chasing all those records can be exhausting.

The Calgary Hitmen blueliner set or tied a number of franchise marks this season.

In Sunday's regular season finale in Lethbridge, Postma needed one point to equal Matt Kinch's team record for points by a defenceman (84).

With five minutes left on the clock, and the Hitmen in full control en route to a 6-2 victory, assistant coach Brent Kisio sent Postma over the boards ... and told him not to come back.

"I'm thankful Brent gave me that chance," said Postma, who won the club's Husky Energy defenceman of the year trophy at last night's year-end awards banquet.

"They knew how close I was and wanted to give me that opportunity.

"That's probably the most tired I've ever been.

"I couldn't get off the ice. In that last minute, I didn't even backcheck or anything."

But it was worth it.

Postma scored his 23rd goal of the year -- another club record -- with 4:29 left.

"I definitely did (leave it right to the end)," said the Atlanta Thrashers prospect.

"It's kinda been in the back of my mind the past couple of months.

"I didn't think it would come down to the wire like that, but I'm thankful it happened."

Postma also set a franchise mark for defencemen earlier this season with goals in five straight games and tied the record with at least one assist in eight consecutive games.

His 84 points was, by far, the most among WHL defencemen, while his plus/minus rating of plus-67 led all players.

"Looking at those stats before the season, you'd never think it would be possible to reach something like that," the Red Deer product said.

"But with the kind of year we've had, it's been pretty special."

The Hitmen will find out tonight who they'll face in Thursday's playoff opener at the Saddledome (7 p.m.).

The Edmonton Oil Kings and Prince Albert Raiders will play a one-game showdown for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Postma said his squad is not concerned over the shortened preparation time it will have.

"We played both teams before and we know what they're all about," he said.

"It doesn't matter who we're going to play because we're going to come at both teams with the same mindset.

"We're not worrying about the other team because if we played like we did during the regular season, we'll be alright."

The Hitmen went 5-1 against the Oil Kings, outscoring their Central Division rivals 31-11, and were 3-0-1 against the Raiders (23-9).

HITMEN HARDWARE

The team's two century men, centre Brett Sonne (100 points) and right-winger Brandon Kozun (108), shared the Petro-Canada player of the year honours. Sonne also took home the three-star award.

Other award winners included Cody Sylvester (Wendy's rookie of the year), Kyle Bortis (East Side Mario's most sportsmanlike player), Martin Jones (Booster Club fan favourite), Ian Schultz and Carson McMillan (Enmax humanitarian), Alex Plante and McMillan (Molson coach's award) and Austin Madaisky (Chrysler Canada scholastic player).

ICE CHIPS

Spokane Chiefs sniper Drayson Bowman was named WHL player of the week. He had three goals and eight points in a pair of Chiefs wins ... The Chilliwack Bruins fired head coach Jim Hiller after the team missed the playoffs with a 19-46-2-5 record.


Videos

Photos