Hitmen draw first blood

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

The regular season is for putting up stats and breaking records.

Calgary Hitmen winger Ian Schultz could care less about any of that trivial stuff.

His season began last night -- in the playoffs.

"The full emotion, banging back and forth, finishing checks everywhere you can, that's my kind of hockey" said Schultz, who scored the game- winner, got into a scrap and threw his weight around all game as the host Hitmen beat the Edmonton Oil Kings 5-0 at the Dome.

"I love playing at that emotional level."

Joel Broda scored a pair while Kris Foucault and Brandon Kozun also lit the lamp as the Hitmen took the opening game of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

The two teams return to the Dome for Game 2 Sunday (2 p.m., Fan 960).

Martin Jones made 21 stops to pick up his first WHL post-season shutout.

"They were probably a little tired after having to play an extra game in Prince Albert (Tuesday) and having an eight-hour bus ride in here," Jones said of the Oil Kings. "We'll expect them to have a lot more jump next game and we'll have a lot more jump ourselves to counteract that."

Netminder Torrie Jung kicked out 32 stops for the Oil Kings, who were playing without injured Czech import Tomas Vincour.

If the Oil Kings hope to extend this series past the minimum four games, their powerplay will need to improve drastically.

Edmonton came up empty on eight powerplay opportunities last night, sealing the sophomore club's fate.

Oil Kings coach Steve Pleau said his squad will practice the powerplay in the next few days.

"Was it 0-for-8?" Pleau asked. "Wow, well we've been struggling with that all year.

"I thought it was (due to) a little bit of fatigue. It was tough -- I mean, it's great -- but it was tough to get (a powerplay) right off the opening faceoff.

"We'll work on it. We have to simplify it. All the cliches -- get pucks to the net and we have to hit the net."

The Hitmen sleep-walked through the opening period and were forced to kill the first three penalties.

Then, on a brief powerplay of their own, the home side received the spark it needed when Brett Sonne busted down the left side and found Schultz at the far post for a 1-0 lead.

The CHL's top-ranked team looked more like themselves in the middle frame, scoring three unanswered goals to take a commanding 4-0 lead.

Foucault made a great move around Oil Kings defenceman Drew Nichol and then tucked the puck between Jung's pads at the 8:19 mark.

Less than three minutes later, Broda corraled a bouncing puck in the slot and the 53-goal scorer made no mistake.

Kozun buried a Bostjan Golicic rebound two minutes after that, prompting Pleau to call a timeout to settle his troops.

Broda went top shelf on a late third-period powerplay to round out the scoring.

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GAME OVER

LAST NIGHT AT THE SADDLEDOME

HITMEN LEAD BEST-OF-SEVEN SERIES 1-0

SUN'S THREE STARS

1. Ian Schultz, Hitmen -- Game-winner, a scrap and some big hits.

2. Martin Jones, Hitmen -- Netminder kicked out 21 shots for the goose egg.

3. Joel Broda, Hitmen -- Two goals for league's top trigger-man.

REPORT CARD

Overall: B

Offence: B

Defence: A

Goaltending: A

Powerplay: B+

Penalty kill: A+

GOAL OF THE GAME

Hitmen LW Kris Foucault showed off some nice hands when he deked around an Oil Kings defender and tucked the puck between the pillows of Edmonton G Torrie Jung.

FIGHT CARD

Oil Kings D Drew Nichol threw a lot of punches but Hitmen RW Ian Schultz landed the major bombs in a second-period scrap.

WHAT IT MEANS

The Hitmen take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven opening-round series.

SCRATCHES

CALGARY -- D Matt Mackenzie (jaw, 5-10 days), RW Rigby Burgart, C Cody Sylvester, LW MacKenzie Royer.

EDMONTON -- D Adrian Van de Mosselaer (broken leg), LW Tomas Vincour (undisclosed), Colton Stephenson, Jesse Pearson.

NOTABLES

The Hitmen enter the post-season as the No.-1 ranked team in the CHL ... Oil Kings C Brenden Dowd finished the regular season with 19 points in the final 20 games.

UP NEXT

SUNDAY: Game 2: Edmonton Oil Kings at Calgary Hitmen (2 p.m., Fan 960).


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