The Calgary Hitmen displayed utter domination over the Regina Pats on Wednesday in a win after Sunday’s tough divisional loss. Although the Pats entered the game having a better February month thus far then Calgary, it was clear the Hitmen had every intention to remain undefeated against the Pats as the game was the fourth and final meeting between the two clubs this season. Mark Kastelic gave his club the ultimate boost with a first period trio of goals. The captain spoke about his four goal performance and claimed “I’ve had some pretty amazing games throughout my career, but just the way it unfolded and how quick it was. It was special… It was just a fun night all around.” Kastelic and the Hitmen did not look back and went on to a decisive 8-1 victory.
The Hitmen had what some would call the perfect start to Wednesday nights game against the Regina Pats. Just 10 seconds after puck drop Mark Kastelic from in tight slapped a puck from Riley Stotts over the glove of Danton Belluk for the early lead. Stotts and Kastlic connected once again as captain Kastelic one timed a cross ice pass past Belluk just over three minutes later. On three shots Calgary had established a two goal lead and a commanding advantage in nearly every aspect of play. Kyle Olson managed to chip in with his point as a member of Calgary with yet another goal before the halfway mark of the frame. Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse for the visiting Pats, Mark Kastelic recorded his hat trick goal just 9:58 into the contest. The Pats held off the Hitmen for the remainder of the period, however, Calgary took the four goal lead, as well as a huge advantage in shots and time on attack into intermission.
The Calgary line of Kastelic, Stotts and Josh Prokop opened the second with yet another strong shift and continued the evident chemistry into the later part of the game. Early on into the second, overagers Robbie Holmes and Zach Wytinck were penalized just 33 seconds apart gifting the Hitmen with a 5-on-3. Although unable to capitalize on the two man advantage, Mark Kastelic continued his scoring ways with 20 seconds remaining on the second power play deflecting a Jett Woo point shot. In scoring his fourth of the game, Kastelic also surpassed the 30 goal milestone for the second consecutive season. Nearing the mid game mark, after a series of big hits from both teams, Regina captain Austin Pratt decided to engage in a passionate tilt with Dakota Krebs in an attempt to spark his Pats. With little over six minutes left in the second, Carson Focht took advantage of the Hitmen power play for the second time in the game. Off a silky pass from Mark Kastelic, Focht was able to slap his 26th of the season past Belluk. Not two minutes later, Kyle Olson potted his second goal off a juicy rebound to extend the Calgary lead to seven. This goal signalled a Regina goaltending change as Donovan Buskey came in for relief of Belluk. Olson post-game commented on his two goal performance as well as the overall Hitmen effort saying “you take goals whenever you can, but more importantly it was a good team win and we can out ready to play right from the puck drop.” After Connor Gabruch was boxed for goalie interference, Cole Dubinsky broke Brayden Peters’ shutout on just the seventh Regina shot. The Regina momentum was killed just 45 seconds later as Carson Focht deflected a Luke Prokop shot past Buskey to take an 8-to-1 lead into the Calgary locker room.
The third started in a very similar fashion to the first 40 minutes, however, Donovan Buskey managed to keep his teams deficit at seven. While the Pats were able to kill off an early penalty, Regina still managed no shots until past the 10 minute mark due to minimal puck support and a physical defensive presence from Calgary. Despite a late surge of fatigued offense from Regina, Calgary skated to the 8-1 victory with a final shot total of 38 to the Pats 14.
The Hitmen will resume play on Saturday against Prince George as the team embarks on an eight day B.C division road trip.
- With four goals on Wednesday Mark Kastelic records his third career game with three or more goals. Kastelic and the Hitmen have 16 games remaining and the captain is just 17 goals short of tying last season’s career high.
- In 12 career games played against the Hitmen, defenceman Zach Wytinck has recorded 11 points with 10 helpers and a lone goal.
- Jett Woo and Carson Focht are now both just a single point away from the 150 point milestone. Focht also played in his 250th WHL game Wednesday against Regina.