Young Hitmen take loss hard
‘We have to keep trying our hardest,’ says Sylvester
Calgary Hitmen head coach Mike Williamson said he was “embarrassed” by Tuesday’s 8-4 loss to the Saskatoon Blades.
And that’s not far off from the players’ perspective, either, according to forward Cody Sylvester.
But, like they’ve done all year, the 2010-11 edition of the Calgary Hitmen — currently occupying the last spot in the Western Hockey League at 15-30-2-1 — need to pick themselves up and move on.
“He was exactly right,” Sylvester said. “But they are a good team. We have maybe struggled a little bit this year but we have to keep trying our hardest. We need to keep getting better.
“We’ve had a few losses this year and have learned to put things behind us.”
Eleven of Saskatoon’s players had points that night, including Canadian world junior star Brayden Schenn.
However, during the front half of the home-and-home series against the WHL’s best team, they had shown signs of brilliance against the highly skilled Blades, despite a 5-1 loss.
Calgary was leading 1-0 after one period and was outshooting Saskatoon 15-7. In the end, they outshot the Blades 38-29.
Prior to that, the Hitmen had won two in a row, including a 6-2 win over Prince Albert — one of the teams they are chasing in the WHL standings.
“As a team, we’ve been playing a lot better. We’ve showed signs of a lot of good things,” said Hitmen forward Kris Foucault.
“It’s huge for our team. Up front, we’re putting up goals, which is something we struggled with at the beginning of the year. It’s getting better.
“I think we’ve made a few strides in the last bit.”
Heading into tonight’s game, Calgary is only 10 points out of a playoff spot.
Starting with a home clash at the Scotiabank Saddledome against the Brandon Wheat Kings (17-26-1-7), they have three games in three nights.
The Hitmen head to Red Deer on Saturday night to face top prospect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Rebels (33-12-1-4) and return to the Dome on Sunday to host the Prince Albert Raiders (19-26-2-3) at 5 p.m.
And, according to Foucault, it isn’t complete doom and gloom for the rebuilding 2010 WHL champions.
“It’s not as bad as a lot of people make it seem,” Foucault said. “We’re still 16-to 20-year-old kids who just want to have fun and play hockey.
“As much as wins make it a lot more fun, it’s still a good time to go out and do something you love every day.”