Hit parade isn't putting pucks past goalie

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

They've won the physical battle.

But the Calgary Hitmen are still losing the war.

The Hitmen have thrown a number of huge hits -- including a pair that may have knocked Kelowna star Jamie Benn out of the series -- but the Rockets keep getting up off the mat.

Hitmen defenceman Keith Seabrook delivered a massive hit in Game 1 of the WHL Championship that forced Benn to the bench for half of a period.

In Game 2, Seabrook knocked Benn out of the contest with another head-rattling smack.

"I thought it was a clean hit," Seabrook said of the collision that was never questioned by the Rockets.

"That's what we have to do. We have to be hard on their top guys."

If Benn did not suffer a concussion and returns to action tonight, he may want to steer clear of No. 7 in black.

"You know what?" Seabrook said. "I think he's the type of player who is used to (being targeted).

"He's a good player and if he does come back, I think he'll be hard to play against."

Fellow blueliner Michael Stone led the hit parade in Saturday's Game 2 loss, knocking down Rockets enforcer Ryley Grantham and Lucas Bloodoff on the same shift.

"It's something we talked about," Stone said.

"They weren't shying away from it in the first game, so we wanted to respond.

"I'm sure we'll respond accordingly (in Game 3).

"And, hopefully, we can put a few more pucks in the net."

Seabrook said his club has to get back to what worked so effectively earlier in the playoffs and throughout the season.

"We're trying to do too much," Seabrook said.

"We're trying to carry the puck into the zone when we need to get it deep and get physical.

"We need to play our cycle game in the corners and we haven't been doing that at all."

The only way to solve a hot goaltender like Rockets starter Mark Guggenberger is to keep pouring rubber towards the net.

The Hitmen launched about 50 shots in each of the first two contests, but had dozens of them blocked by a Rockets team willing to pay the price for a victory.

"Guggenberger's playing awesome," said Seabrook, who has scored one of his team's three goals in the series.

"We're getting a lot of quality shots, but the ones that aren't getting through are getting blocked."

That needs to change.

And it needs to change tonight.


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