Hitmen defence stands tall

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:38 AM ET

Scoring five goals against the Medicine Hat Tigers was nice, but not shocking.

Holding the high-powered Bengals to two goals — and just 17 shots — was more impressive.

Calgary Hitmen defenders did an admirable job of keeping the Tigers big guns in check throughout Friday’s 5-2 Game 1 victory at the Dome.

Blueliner Matt MacKenzie said the defence corps made the smart play from start to finish.

“We kept it simple,” MacKenzie said. “You can’t make too cute of plays.

“They’re a really aggressive team, both their forwards and their D.

“So you have to move the pucks quick. And if you don’t have a play, put it off the glass and out.”

The Tigers were unable to use their speed to create any odd-man rushes.

“That’s one thing we learned from last series against Moose Jaw,” he said.

“We gave them a few odd-man rushes and they capitalized.

“We knew Med Hat has an even better transition game, so we really tightened up in practice.”

The Hitmen were also physical.

Blueliner Kyle Aschim set the tone by delivering a big open-ice hit on Tigers forward Wacey Hamilton in the first period.

“That’s one of the keys — to be physical against them,” Aschim said.

“We want to wear them down a little bit.

“But they’ll come out harder next game so we have to maintain that physical play.”

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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