The latter half of the preseason home-and-home was held last night (September 7th) between the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings and the home Calgary Hitmen. The second of four preseason games for the Hitmen was held at the recently-built Sarcee Seven Chiefs Sportsplex in Tsuu T’ina Nation.
The Hitmen looked to bounce back after falling in the first bout against the Oil Kings 3-1 in Edmonton. Starting goaltenders for the game were Jack McNaughton for Calgary and Todd Scott for the Oil Kings. The game began after a ceremonial puck drop, and Calgary quickly fell behind on the scoreboard. Just over a minute in, Scott Atkinson broke open the scoring by busting up the right-wing and going to his forehand to beat McNaughton. Minutes later, after multiple Calgary defensive zone breakdowns, Carter Souch capitalized on a messy net-front scramble to take a two-goal lead. The Oil Kings added one more on the power play with 16 seconds remaining to take a three-goal lead into the intermission. The period did not end without a centre ice scrum to remind the fans of the classic Oil King and Hitmen rivalry.
After a frustrating period of getting severely out-chanced with limited offensive zone time for the Hitmen, the second didn’t begin any better. Offseason acquisition for the Oil Kings Riley Sawchuk quickly notched two goals to extend the lead to five after more defensive struggles by the youthful Calgary lineup. Calgary soon made a goaltender change, allowing 2002-born Brayden Peters to see some ice. The Oil Kings scored another to cap off their second three-goal period, leading 6-0 at the intermission.
Edmonton replaced Todd Scott with Sebastian Cossa to begin the third, where Calgary had a somewhat better start. Although the six-goal deficit was too much for the young Hitmen lineup to come back from, there were some positive notes to take away. Calgary’s 2019 first-round selection Grayden Siepmann displayed his offensive capabilities as the right hand shot defensemen potted two goals and continues to establish himself as an exciting prospect to watch for the future. Luke Prokop also impressed as the second-year defenseman showed a vast increase in offensive awareness and confidence in that aspect of his game. Prokop led all skaters with six shots. The Hitmen will likely look to work on special teams as the team’s power play went 0-for-6 and killed only four of seven penalties.
The Hitmen will look to bounce back from the two losses as they travel to Taber to take on the Medicine Hat Tigers on the 14th before closing out the preseason against Red Deer at the Saddledome on the 15th.
Calgary is now 0-2-0-0 in the preseason. Upcoming opponents are 1-1-0-0 (Medicine Hat) and 1-1-1-0 (Red Deer).
Through two games against the Oil Kings, Calgary was 0-for-9 on the man advantage while killing 11-of-15 penalties.