The Calgary Hitmen knew adding Joel Broda as an overager would have impact.
Who'd have guessed it would happen immediately?
Broda, last season's WHL goal-scoring champ, returned to the Hitmen in time for yesterday's home-opener and made his presence known in a hurry by netting the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels.
"A 53-goal scorer, you can never have too many of those, right?" said Hitmen winger Ian Schultz, who set up the winning tally. "He brings a lot to the table."
The biggest would be timely goals.
Broda, who was first at the Washington Capitals camp -- he was a fifth-round draft choice in 2008 -- and then with their AHL team in Hershey, was returned for his 20-year-old season in Calgary.
He had a quiet outing in the afternoon affair, but ignited the Saddledome crowd of 7,416 with a bullet of a shot to break a tie with less than six minutes remaining.
Schultz spied Broda in the slot near the circle, fed him a perfect pass and watched the trigger-man roof a glove-side shot past Rebels netminder Darcy Kuemper.
"I had a couple of shots in the slot during the game and kept getting blocked or guys had their stick on me," Broda said. "Schutlzie made a nice play to me in my signature spot, and I tried to get as much on it as I could.
"It's a big goal. The first one, you're usually anxious to get, so it's exciting. It's a relief when you can get that out of the way."
The Hitmen were sighing, too, having kept their perfect record intact thanks to a third-period comeback.
Tyler Fiddler's short-side slapper off the post, his team-best fifth goal of the year, pulled Calgary even early in the final frame.
The hosts were buzzing all around the Rebels net and were rewarded when Broda lit the lamp.
"The second period, we were awful, to be blunt," said head coach Mike Williamson. "The third period is how have to play. We used our speed, won races to pucks, and we were rewarded with a win.
"We're a team that needs to work hard, play simply, stop on pucks, finish checks, little things like that. When we start swinging and swooping, the other team starts to get some momentum, and it takes us a while to get out of it."
Schultz, with a beautiful shorthanded marker, also scored for the Hitmen (4-0). Cass Mappin and Nathan Green replied for Red Deer (2-2).
Michael Snider was pressed into duty for the Hitmen with No.-1 goalie Martin Jones on the shelf for a week to 10 days due to a sprained ankle suffered Friday night.
Snider stopped 13 shots in a weird affair. He faced only one shot in the first period -- it took nearly 12 minutes for either team to put a shot on goal -- and two in the third period. Like we said, weird.
"Especially with the wait off the start, the banner raising," Snider said. "It was a slow start. One shot in the first period, it's tough to stay sharp, but you have to stay focused. The one goal I'd like to have back, but I thought I battled through it, worked hard and got the win."
Williamson said Jones' injury isn't severe, but being early in the season, the club figured it's best to ensure he's 100% before returning.
"Snides was great in the pre-season, and Jonesy wasn't here for those games," Williamson said. "He played very well. He's a capable goalie, and we know he's going to compete very hard for us. He played well. He made a couple of big saves for us ... and held us in there until we got out heads in the game."