Kozun caps three-goal comeback

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Brandon Kozun has scored a lot of highlight-reel goals in the WHL.

Neither of yesterday's tallies will make the tape.

But the Calgary Hitmen winger couldn't care less.

Kozun shovelled in a couple of pucks -- the second with 39.7 seconds left in regulation -- to give the Hitmen a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Portland Winterhawks yesterday at the Dome.

"They're more important, though," Kozun said after scoring the game-winner through heavy traffic in the slot.

"Any time you get a goal to win the game, I'll take it."

The Hitmen appeared well on their way to a third consecutive loss as they fell behind the Hawks 3-0 early in the second period.

But Chase Schaber scored once and added a trio of helpers while Cody Sylvester, Tyler Fiddler and Ian Schultz also found the back of the net as the home side rebounded for a dramatic win.

The Hitmen improved to 8-3-0 and gave head coach Mike Williamson a victory against a franchise with which he spent 15 seasons.

Schaber said 'winning one for the Gipper' wasn't lost on the club.

"It was great to see a smile on Mike's face after a win against his old team," Schaber said. "We wanted to get it for him."

Nino Niederreiter scored a pair for the Hawks (8-5-0) while Airdrie product Ty Rattie, Luke Walker and Ryan Johansen also beat goalie Martin Jones, who made his first start since Sept. 25.

Down 3-0, the Hitmen started buzzing the Winterhawks net, promting Portland bench boss Mike Johnston to call a timeout. That strategy clearly didn't work as Kozun scored just six seconds later to kickstart the comeback.

Sylvester scored on a nice deflection a few minutes later, and then Fiddler, with his team-leading eighth of the campaign, put the Hitmen on even footing with a powerplay goal.

Walker put the visitors back on top early in the final frame before Schaber tied it once again on the powerplay.

The Hitmen looked like they were home and free when Schultz redirected a Schaber shot behind Kurtis Mucha to give Calgary its first lead of the game with 2:36 to play.

But that advantage lasted just 28 seconds as Johansen caught Jones down too early and put a quick shot into the top corner.

Schultz did the legwork on the winner, getting his own rebound behind the net and centring to Kozun, who found the far side of the net around Schaber's screen.

Schaber, whose four-point outing was the best of his WHL career, said his squad wasn't going to go down the same path as it did Saturday night in a 5-1 loss to Saskatoon.

"We learned," the Red Deer product said. "We knew what kind of skill we have, and we went out and displayed it."

The Hitmen visit the Rebels, who have won three straight, tomorrow in Red Deer before returning home to host the Edmonton Oil Kings Wednesday at the Dome.

SCOTT.FISHER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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