Hitmen take Game 2 against Amerks

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET

It wasn’t a cakewalk.

But the victory tasted just as sweet.

One night after blowing out the Tri-City Americans 7-0, the Calgary Hitmen gutted out a 4-1 win at the Dome.

Joel Broda, Peter Kosterman, Del Cowan and Tyler Fiddler scored for the Hitmen, who lead the WHL Championship 2-0.

The best-of-seven series, which features the No. 1 seeds from the Western and Eastern Conferences for the first time since 2003, shifts to Kennewick, Wash. for Games 3 (Tuesday) and 4 (Wednesday).

Johnny Lazo’s second-period marker was the lone blemish on Calgary starter Martin Jones’s record.

Jones kicked out 21 stops for his 14th victory of the post-season,

Fiddler put the game on ice with less than three minutes to play. Brandon Kozun took the puck hard to the net and Fiddler cleaned up the scraps to send the crowd of 10,049 home happy.

The final shots were 38-22 for Calgary.

The Calgary powerplay failed to convert on an early opportunity when the Hitmen were handed a two-man advantage for 1:12.

Drew Owsley, who was chased after surrendering four goals on nine shots in the series opener, turned away winger Tyler Fiddler on a shorthanded breakaway.

But the Hitmen did snag the lone goal of the opening period thanks to a fantastic shift by d-man Giffen Nyren.

The Calgary product nearly made a miraculous drop pass after executing a toe-drag and jumping tover a defender’s stick.

But he ended up with the puck again seconds later and made a perfect feed to Broda, who snapped home his playoff-leading 13th goal.

Kosterman, a healthy scratch in the opener, scored his first career WHL goal early in the middle frame when the rookie blueliner snapped a shot over Owsley’s blocker.

Cowan made it 3-0 just over a minute later when he deflected Michael Stone’s point shot into the net.

That was it for Owsley, who got the yank for the second time in as many nights. He gave up three goals on 15 shots.

The goaltending change provided immediate dividends as the Americans found the back of the net for the first time in the series 41 seconds later.

The Hitmen turned the puck over at the blueline and Tri-city captain Jarrett Toll put a puck towards the net where Lazo was left all alone.

Lazo outwaited Jones and went to the top corner, snapping Jones’ shutout streak against the Americans at 146:37 dating back to 2008.

The Hitmen powerplay again failed to seize control of the game midway through the period.

Americans leading scorer Brendan Shinnimin was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for blasting Kozun into the boards head first.

But the powerplay couldn’t convert, despite another 5-on-3 for 45 seconds.

Nyren had the best chance to beat Ams backup ’tender Alexander Pechurskiy but clanked a shot off the iron late in the period.

Lazo nearly picked up his second of the night, but Jones kicked out the right pad to deny the speedy forward on a partial breakaway.

The Hitmen outshot the visitors 28-13 through 40 minutes.


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