Kid looks alright for Hitmen

SCOTT FISHER, QMI AGency

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

Its all over for this miserable campaign.

But the Calgary Hitmen hope to be in the Chase next season.

Freshman Chase Clayton and centre Greg Chase, who will begin his rookie Western Hockey League season in the fall, are the cornerstones of the clubs rebuilding process.

Chase, whose midget season came to an end when his Sherwood Park Kings bowed out of the playoffs last week, suited up with the Hitmen for the final weekend.

Its fast and everyone is strong, the 16-year-old said after Sundays 2-0 season-ending loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers at the Dome.

Its a whole different level of hockey.

It was a good experience.

Overall, Chase got into five games with the Hitmen, which should pay dividends when he looks to crack the roster full-time in September.

I know what I have to work on all summer, Chase said.

I have to get bigger and faster.

I thought I did pretty well and had some good chances.

Chase scored 24 goals and 39 points in 30 games with Sherwood Park and then added 10 points in a dozen playoff tilts.

Hitmen bench boss Mike Williamson said the youngster was impressive during his brief audition.

He has a good skill set, competes hard, and hes hungry on the puck, Williamson said. Were happy with his outlook for next year.

Chase suffered a knee injury during Sundays chippy affair that saw the Tigers with more players in the penalty box (six) than on their bench (five) in the third period. But he did return from what he said was just a bruise.

The Hitmen had no answer for Tigers goaltender Deven Dubyk on the weekend.

The Manitoba product, who had never posted a shutout at any level, finished the season by kicking out 67 pucks in a row for back-to-back goose eggs against the Hitmen.

As the game started to deteriorate into a series of scraps in the third, Hitmen goalie Michael Snider extended a dance invitation to Dubyk.

But with his second straight shutout on the line, he was having none of it.

I think Snider was calling me down, but I was like, not this time, Dubyk said.

Snider, who made 54 saves on 56 shots over the weekend, said he didnt blame Dubyk for declining.

Ive kinda always wanted to be in a goalie fight, Snider said with a smile. I think it would be exciting.

That would have been fun, but nothing against him.

Anaheim Ducks first-rounder Emerson Etem scored both goals for the Tigers

(46-18-8), who will face the Brandon Wheat Kings in the opening round of playoffs.

Hitmen hand out awards

The Hitmen handed out their year-end awards Sunday night at the Fairmont Palliser.

C Cody Sylvester was named the Petro-Canada player of the year.

Other winners included

LW Kris Foucault (three stars),

LW Trevor Cheek (rookie), LW Justin Kirsch (most sportsmanlike player) and Spencer Humphries (top defenceman).

D Ben Wilson (coachs award, humanitarian) and

D Peter Kosterman (scholastic) also shared the fan favourite honours.


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