Hitmen snuffed by hot goalie

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:54 AM ET

Just call Jon Groenheyde the streak-buster.

The Edmonton Oil Kings goaltender snapped a couple of lengthy trends this week.

He beat the Calgary Hitmen in Edmonton Wednesday, ending a 16-game slide against the Hitmen.

Friday, he helped the Oil Kings beat the Vancouver Giants for the first time in franchise history.

On Saturday night, he added to his streak as he turned aside 18 shots to post his third straight ‘W’, a 3-1 victory over the Hitmen at the Saddledome.

“Yeah, and I was also in for the first time we won in Chilliwack,” Groenheyde said of his growing list of ‘firsts.’

“I’ve just been tracking the puck and letting the puck come to me.

“That’s helped out a lot.”

Michael St. Croix, T.J. Foster and Jordan Hickmott provided all the offence the visitors would need as Groenheyde, who improved to 6-8-1, was solid from start to finish between the Oil Kings pipes.

Groenheyde came over from the Kamloops Blazers early in the season and still sports orange equipment, which clashes with the red in the Oil Kings jerseys.

“Everyone says that,” he said with a chuckle when asked if an equipment change will take place.

“It’s coming, it’s coming.”

Misha Fisenko was the lone Hitmen to light the lamp, while Michael Snider made 23 stops in a losing cause.

The Central Division rivals were deadlocked at 1-1 in the third period when the visitors grabbed the lead.

Foster picked up a rebound in front of the net and swept a backhander past Snider.

The Oil Kings got some breathing room a few minutes later when they connected on a two-man advantage.

Hickmott pulled the trigger in the slot for his 11th of the campaign to make it a 3-1 game.

The Hitmen managed just four shots in the final frame.

The Oil Kings (11-14-1) leapfrogged the Prince Albert Raiders into ninth spot in the Eastern Conference and sit 10 points clear of the last-place Hitmen (6-19-1).

The Hitmen survived the game’s opening shift unscathed for the first time in the last three outings.

But the visitors did strike first at the 6:04 mark.

St. Croix jumped on a turnover and beat Snider to the short side over the blocker.

The Hitmen had a chance to get back on even footing on a 3-on-1 shorthanded rush, but Groenheyde turned away Matt MacKenzie’s one-timer, setting up a 4-on-1 the other way.

St. Croix ended up as the trigger man and made a nice move, but Snider made a fantastic glove save.

The Hitmen were dominated (outshot 11-4) in the opening frame, but Jimmy Bubnick made a great individual rush late in the period.

The Atlanta Thrashers prospect split the Oil Kings defence with a spectacular toe drag, but Groenheyde got his left toe on the shot to keep the hosts off the board.

St. Croix nailed the inside of the post on a late Oil Kings powerplay.

The Hitmen responded with a better effort in the middle stanza and held a 9-1 advantage on the shot clock through 10 minutes.

And they were rewarded on the scoreboard as Nathan MacMaster found Fisenko in front of the Edmonton cage on a Hitmen powerplay.

There were a couple of bouts in the period with the lightweights Cody Sylvester and Dylan Wruck serving as the undercard for heavyweights Alex Roach and Klarc Wilson.

Hit Parade

The Sun’s Three Stars were Oil King G Jon Groenheyde, Oil Kings C Michael St. Croix and Hitmen C Misha Fisenko ... Scratched for the Hitmen were LW Tyler Fiddler (lower body), G Juraj Holly, D Jaynen Rissling, C Chase Clayton, RW Rob Trzonkowski. Out of the Oil Kings’ lineup were C Colton Stephenson, D Jesse Pearson, LW Mike Piluso, RW Cam Abney ... The Hitmen begin a three-game road trip Wednesday in Prince George ... The Oil Kings host the Prince Albert Raiders Wednesday ... The Hitmen will shave off their Movember moustaches Monday.

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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