Hitmen season comes to an end

By Aaron Dowding

The Calgary Hitmen, so soon into the post season are past due.
Only managing one win in five games of the first round is grounds for dismissal.
Barely squeaking into the playoffs at the end of the regular season, the Hitmen drew the magical Red Deer Rebels.
Trading away players like Johnny Boychuk, Owen Fussey and goalie Brent Krahn earlier in the season, there were no expectations for Calgary to come up big in the playoffs, meeting the second best team in the WHL for the first round didn’t help.

On the road the Hitmen were shut out in their first game 2-0.
Still in Red Deer for the second game of the series, the Hitmen had little life in the box.
Down 3-0 before the two minute mark of the second period, Calgary was able scrounge two power play goals by Carson and Segal before the Rebels shut them down for the second game in a row.

Down 2-0 in the series, Calgary needed to win their two games at home to have any chance, but there was nothing doing.
The Rebels came out firing and scored two unanswered goals in the first period alone.
The Hitmen bounced back with goals from Mike Egener and Richard Mueller but were again shut down when Red Deer added two more including an empty netter from Boyd Gordon to take the series to 3-0.

With one game left at home it was a must win situation for the Hitmen.
Wanting to prevent the sweep and the humiliation, they rallied for a low 2-1 score.
The only goal for Red Deer came on a Boyd Gordon, short handed opportunity.
The Hitmen then pulled up their hockey socks and responded with goals from Brett Carson and Brandon Segal.
Limiting the Rebels chances and making them 0 for 7 on the power play the Hitmen had their first post season win.

After the game, not only the Rebels but the Hitmen packed up and headed to Red Deer as well.
The Hitmen organization, including coach Rich Kromm decided it would be best for the team if they spent the hours before the next game together, trying to rally the troops for a road win.

Going 0-5 in the regular season in Red Deer, it was not a favorable situation for Calgary.
The game which turned out to be the Hitmen’s last, was at least a true playoff battle.
A power play goal by Fred Sjostrom found the Hitmen down 2-1 after the first.
Calgary’s Ryan Getzlaf scored the only goal for either side in the second period, tying the game at two.
Eight and a half minutes into the third period, the Hitmen found themselves in a deep 4-2 hole and staring grim death in the face.

Richard Mueller was able to cash in on one more power play goal to make the last four minutes of the Calgary Hitmen’s season a truly honest battle for supremacy.