BRANDON — No Brandon Kozun.
No Cody Sylvester.
At least not on this night.
The Calgary Hitmen, playing without two of their top forwards, completely dominated the Brandon Wheat Kings in Wednesday’s final roundrobin game of the 2010 Memorial Cup.
Kris Foucault scored a pair of goals and added two assists, as the Hitmen beat the host Wheaties 5-1.
“We got some good bounces tonight,” said Foucault after the game. “We’ve been working well as a line. It gives us a ton of confidence going in to play them again (Friday).”
Jimmy Bubnick, Tyler Shattock and Cody Beach also scored for the Hitmen, who will meet the Wheaties again in Friday’s semifinal.
Hitmen goaltender Martin Jones made 39 saves for his second win of the tournament.
It was hardly a surprise Foucault led the way offensively. The Minnesota Wild prospect has had some of his finest moments at Westman Place, including last spring when he was named MVP of the Eastern Conference final against the Wheaties.
“I struggled a bit in the Tri-City series,” Foucault said of the WHL Championship. “But I came in here, and it felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.
“I get some confidence when I play here.”
Foucault has three two-goal games against the Wheat Kings in five tilts in Brandon this season.
Jay Fehr replied for the Wheat Kings, who have now lost five straight games to the Hitmen and must figure out a way to turn the tide for Friday’s rematch.
Sylvester, who has the flu, will likely be back for the semi. Kozun, the CHL’s top scorer, is still nursing a sore ankle and is questionable.
Wednesday’s game was all but meaningless, with the victor gaining last change for Friday’s tilt.
But the Hitmen insisted there was more on the line.
Pride, momentum and the chance to pile more doubt into the minds of the Wheat Kings, who have had a ton of trouble beating Jones. They accomplished everything they could have hoped for.
“Every game means a lot to us,” Foucault said. “We’re young 17-, 18- and 19-year-old kids who are super-competitive and who want to win games. We wanted to get the win and crush the confidence they had, try to take the wind out of their sails.”
The Foucault/Bubnick/Shattock trio ran roughshod over the Wheat Kings in the opening period, piling up
10 points as the visitors built an insurmountable 5-1 lead.
The Wheaties were able to stop the bleeding during a scoreless middle frame.
And they nearly got on the board at the other end, except for the second straight game, Hitmen defender Giffen Nyren was able to sweep a puck off the goal-line to help his goaltender out.
The shots were even at 24 apiece after 40 minutes.
The Hitmen missed a couple of opportunities to further pad their stats early in the final frame, including Foucault, who was looking to complete the hat-trick.
Jones continues his mastery of the Wheat Kings at the other end, who was at his best late in the game when the Hitmen were down two men for four straight minutes.