Hitmen to press on

TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

Nobody knows pressure like Torrie Jung.

He's the goaltender who's faced truckloads of rubber -- 138 pucks over three playoff games -- minding the mesh for the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Including one eight-minute overtime, that's one shot every 44 seconds faced off sticks of the Calgary Hitmen.

But Hitmen head coach Dave Lowry, who guarantees the Oil Kings 'tender can expect even more pressure tonight in Game 4 of the WHL Eastern Conference first-round series, says it won't be the only stress underscoring tonight's possible final tilt between the Alberta rivals.

"There is pressure out there, but that's part of the playoffs," said Lowry, who has coached his charges to three straight wins over the Oil Kings heading into Game 4 at Rexall Place (7 p.m.).

"They're going to have pressure on them to turn the series around, and we're going to have pressure to close the series out."

Should the Hitmen keep up their end of that claim, it'll mean more of the same for Jung -- who has been bombarded with 37, 56 and 45 pucks respectively in the opening three games of the best-of-seven quarter-final series.

The Oil Kings goalie has been nothing short of spectacular, kicking out all but 11 of those shots, as the saving grace for a team now just one loss from elimination.

To help turn the series around, he'll have to be even better.

So how's that for pressure?

"We're not going to change our game," said Lowry, when asked about if there's an air of complacency setting in amongst the Hitmen.

"We've had to deal with pressure on us all year, and we've been resilient.

"We're not going to change now."

Heck, the Hitmen could have surrendered their guns to Jung a few games ago given his heroics in net.

In Game 2 Sunday, the third-year 'tender was brilliant turning aside 54 shots -- and allowing just two goals -- over 68 minutes.

It took a repeated attack by the Hitmen to finally break through Jung's armour.

"We know he's their best player, and we know that team has confidence in him," Lowry said.

"He's been one of the key reasons they've had success. And we knew going into this series, he has the potential to win it."

It certainly could be a series favouring the Oil Kings at this point had Jung's teammates given him goal support at the other end of the ice.

One win -- buoyed by the goalie's performance -- could make things sticky even for the Hitmen, with a commanding three-game lead in the series.

"Our focus is not going to change," Lowry added. "Not at all -- everyone knows the fourth win is the toughest to get. We have to make sure we are prepared to face a desperate hockey team."


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