Hitmen win streak hits three

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:29 AM ET

There was a time not too long ago when a three-game winning streak would have been considered a slump.

Last season’s edition of the Calgary Hitmen put five strings together of five wins or more. The streaks were even longer the previous season.

But Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over the Chilliwack Bruins marked the first time this season the Hitmen have cobbled together a trio of victories.

Veteran forward Jimmy Bubnick scored the game-winner in the third period.

“Everything’s going well right now,” Bubnick said.

“This is the closest we’ve played to 60 minutes for two games in a row.

“We definitely want to keep this going.”

Justin Kirsch and Trevor Cheek also scored for the Hitmen, who improved to 10-21-2 and moved within two points of the Regina Pats and escaping the WHL’s cellar.

Nathan MacMaster did the legwork before centring to Bubnick, who took a quick backhander that surprised Chilliwack starter Braden Gamble for the powerplay winner in the third.

Bubnick said his club wanted some payback after the Bruins thumped the Hitmen 7-2 at the Dome in late October.

“They came in here and stole two points from us early in the season, and we didn’t want it to happen again,” the Atlanta Thrashers prospect said.

“We wanted to match their work ethic.”

Kris Foucault had his five-game goal-scoring streak end, but drew an assist on Bubnick’s marker to extend his points streak to a half-dozen tilts.

Brandon Magee and Jamie Crooks replied for the Bruins (15-13-3), who had Team Canada world junior cut and Calgary Flames draft pick Ryan Howse back in the lineup.

Hitmen bench boss Mike Williamson credited goaltender Michael Snider, who has been between the pipes for all three recent wins, for giving his team a chance after the visitors grabbed a 2-0 lead.

“Their powerplay is dynamite,” Williamson said.

“They had a lot of good looks.

“We got some great goaltending, and our guys did a better job as the game went along of closing things up.

“Once we got going there in the second period, we played with a lot of energy.”

Snider pitched a shutout in a 2-0 win over the Red Deer Rebels Sunday, but was beaten just 5:32 into Tuesday’s tilt.

The Calgary ’tender had little chance on Magee’s rocket as the 16-year-old found the short side on a one-timer from the faceoff dot.

The Bruins’ top-ranked powerplay went to work in the middle frame as Kevin Sundher found Crooks at the back door for an uncontested tap-in.

The Hitmen replied on a powerplay of their own.

Misha Fisenko attempted to hit a pinching Foucault with a pass, but Kirsch redirected his team-leading 15th past Gamble.

The hosts got back on even footing a few minutes later when Fisenko made a great cross-crease pass to Cheek.

Calgary product Brendan Santini also drew an assist on the play for his first-career WHL point.

The Hitmen held a 23-19 advantage on the shot clock through 40 minutes.

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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