Hitmen gas lead in loss to Blazers

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:29 AM ET

A 20-minute nap isn’t that long.

But it was more than enough to sink the Calgary Hitmen.

The Central Division cellar-dwellers looked great for the first two periods, but let a 2-0 lead evaporate in the final 20 minutes in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Kamloops Blazers.

Cody Beach had a goal and an assist, while Tyler Fiddler also scored for the Hitmen (4-7-0).

Brendan Ranford and Ryan Hanes replied for the Blazers, and Jordan DePape potted the winner as Kamloops improved to 7-6-1.

Juraj Holly had another strong game between the pipes for the Hitmen, but didn’t get the support he needed form his teammates.

Jeff Bosch continued to haunt the Hitmen, kicking out 23 shots for the win. He robbed Justin Kirsch with a big stop with 12.5 seconds to go in regulation time.

Bosch nearly orchestrated the biggest upset in WHL playoff history last spring when he backstopped the Moose Jaw Warriors to within one win of ousting the regular-season champion Hitmen.

The Hitmen rebounded from a 3-1 series deficit for a seven-game victory en route to the WHL title.

Trailing 2-0 early in the final frame Saturday night, the visitors received the spark they needed when Ranford — seconds after absorbing a massive hit from Beach — scored his 12th goal of the season.

Hanes snapped home a loose puck in the slot a few minutes later and it was all tied up at two.

The Hitmen had a chance to clear the puck during a shorthanded situation but failed. DePape scooped it up and fired a wrister over Holly’s glove for a 3-2 lead.

Saturday’s tilt marked the return of Chase Schaber and Austin Madaisky, who were dealt to the Blazers at last January’s WHL trade deadline.

It was also the first time former Blazer Jimmy Bubnick faced his old teammates. He missed last February’s game in Kamloops with an injury.

The Hitmen grabbed the lead just past the midway point of the opening period.

Defenceman Jaynen Rissling banked a pass off the end boards to Cody Sylvester, who made a nice cross-crease pass to Beach for his fourth goal of the season.

Beach hooked up with overagers Misha Fisenko and Fiddler for a fantastic three-way passing play that produced Calgary’s second goal.

Fiddler finished off the play for his second goal of the campaign.

As it turned out, it wasn’t enough.


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