Wheaties test host mettle

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Sometimes you have to travel the gravel road to get to your destination.

Until yesterday, the Calgary Hitmen had been cruising, pedal to the metal, along the Autobahn.

But the Brandon Wheat Kings provided the first bump along the Hitmen's WHL playoff route.

The Hitmen gave up four goals, the most they have surrendered in the post-season.

They found themselves trailing by a pair -- twice -- for the first time in six weeks.

And yet, they won their franchise-record 10th consecutive playoff game -- and 13th straight overall -- as they rallied to beat the Wheaties 5-4 at the Saddledome.

Sniper Joel Broda, who scored once and set up Brett Sonne's winner, said his squad proved it can win the tough games.

"They took it to us for the first 20 or 30 minutes," Broda said. "But I liked the way be battled back. We showed a lot of character there."

The Hitmen's vaunted checking line has received well-deserved praise for its work through the first two rounds.

But late in the second period, Ian Schultz, Carson McMillan and Chase Schaber were a combined minus-three.

"That's definitely not a good stat to have when you're the shutdown line -- that's for sure," said Schultz, who tied the game with 9:06 to play with a nice mid-air redirection.

"But we (got two goals back). And on a night when things aren't going our way, it's somewhat acceptable."

Head coach Dave Lowry said his confidence in the trio never wavered.

"They've been very good for us," Lowry said. "If you look back to the last series, they played a pivotal role in us moving on.

"(Yesterday), they didn't have a great day. You go in and talk to them, and they understand that.

"I trust those guys. They're a committed group."


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