Hitmen throttle Americans

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:51 AM ET

The Calgary Hitmen thought they played their A-game last week.

But as high as the they set the bar in a convincing 6-1 series-clinching win over the Brandon Wheat Kings, there clearly was room for improvement.

The Hitmen completely dominated the Tri-City Americans in the opening game of the WHL Championship.

Misha Fisenko scored twice and added an assist as the Hitmen ran the Americans out of the Dome with a 7-0 shellacking.

Defenceman Matt MacKenzie also scored twice while Cody Sylvester, Brandon Kozun and Ben Wilson chipped in with singles.

Game 2 of the WHL Championship goes Saturday night at the Dome (8 p.m., Shaw TV, Fan 960).

The series then shifts to Kennewick, Wash., for Games 3 and 4.

Hitmen goaltender Martin Jones kicked out 26 shots to record the shutout. It was the fourth of his WHL career, which is a franchise record.

The Hitmen were in complete control in the third period when Wilson blasted a shot from the point through a screen for his first of the playoffs to make it 7-0.

The Americans outshot the Hitmen 26-23.

It was all Hitmen in the opening period as the home side jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead.

Sylvester took a pass from Ian Schultz in full flight, skated in on a breakaway and slipped a backhander through Tri-City starter Drew Owsley’s pads.

The Hitmen powerplay — or more specifically, MacKenzie — then went to work.

The veteran blueliner unloaded a slapshot from the point that found the low corner and then, 49 seconds later, found the back of the net on a snapshot.

That goal gave the Hitmen powerplay four goals on as many chances against the Americans on the year.

Feeding off the momentum and the bositerous crowd, the Hitmen kept coming.

Fisenko outbattled Americans d-man Brock Sutherland, took the puck to the net and, like Sylvester, slid a backhander five-hole.

That spelled the end of the night for Owsley, the MVP of the Western Conference final, who surrendered four goals on nine shots.

The Hitmen treated Russian backup Alexander Pechurskiy just as harshly.

Kozun, the WHL playoff scoring leader, finished off a nice three-way passing play with Fisenko and Ben Wilson and went to the top corner for his eighth of the playoffs.

Fisenko was on the finishing end of another nice three-way passing play in the final minute of the second period, tapping in a great feed from Del Cowan to make it six-zip after 40 minutes.

The Americans actually outshot the Hitmen 20-17 through two periods but Jones wasn’t forced to make any jaw-dropping stops.

The closest the visitors came to finding the net was a Sutherland floater from the point that clanked off the post with two minutes left.


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