Hitmen show 'Cane-do effort

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

Sometimes, a little adversity is welcomed.

The Calgary Hitmen have faced their fair share of it lately.

And sniper Brandon Kozun said that's OK with him, especially when his club overcomes it like it did Tuesday night.

The Hitmen battled out of an early two-goal hole and beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes 7-5 at the Saddledome.

"We didn't get the start we wanted to," Kozun said after a his three-point performance.

"But it showed a lot of heart the way we battled back.

"Everyone stuck together, and that's a good sign.

"Every team is going to face adversity, and it's better that we face it now than in the playoffs. Last year, we went into the finals and hadn't faced any adversity, and it came back to bite us."

Del Cowan scored a pair for the Hitmen, who also received goals from Brandon Kozun, Tyler Fiddler, Cody Sylvester, Misha Fisenko and Kris Foucault.

Mitch Maxwell potted a hat-trick for the visitors. Philip Tot and Austin Fyten also scored for the 'Canes (15-26-5).

The Hitmen (30-15-2) moved back atop the WHL's Central Division standings with the win.

The Hitmen have got off to terrible starts during their recent funk, and that didn't change Tuesday as the visitors grabbed an early 2-0 lead.

The first goal was a Calgary connection, as local product Ryon Moser was stopped by Hitmen goaltender Martin Jones. Tot outbattled his former Calgary Buffaloes teammate Peter Kosterman in front and had a couple whacks at the loose puck before scoring his second of the year.

Fyten added to the lead 1:19 later, cashing in another rebound.

But Hitmen head coach Mike Williamson called a timeout and got his team straightened out.

Cowan said it changed the team's mind-set.

"He said, 'Don't panic -- we're alright. We had a couple of bad bounces, but we can dig ourselves out of this,' " Cowan said. "He calmed us down and gave us the confidence to keep going."

The home side got a break when Hurricanes goaltender Linden Rowat lost a puck behind the net and Cowan dug it out for a shorthanded marker. But the 'Canes neutralized any momentum the Hitmen hoped to gain by replying just 21 seconds later.

The Hitmen powerplay, which had been 2-for-23 over the last four games, got on the board as Foucault shoveled a cross-crease pass to Kozun.

The powerplay converted again early in the middle frame, as Fiddler buried a perfect pass from Kozun to tie the game at three.

Sylvester gave the hosts their first lead of the night by stripping Calgarian Daniel Johnston of the puck, making a nice deke to the forehand and then bowling over Rowat.

Maxwell got his second of the night on the powerplay, but the Hitmen regained the lead before the end of the period, as Fisenko redirected Michael Stone's point-shot.

Foucault broke in on Rowat but had the puck knocked off his stick and right to Cowan, who scored his second of the night. After Maxwell capped off the hat-trick on the powerplay, Foucault redirected Kosterman's shot into the back of the net to round out the scoring. The Hitmen outshot the visitors 37-22.

SCOTT.FISHER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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