In the end, the Regina Pats were simply too strong for the Calgary Hitmen.
The Hitmen’s first-round playoff opponent was ranked No. 1 in the country heading into their series, and a four-game sweep that ended the Calgary crew’s season on Thursday night at the Saddledome showed why they’re so highly regarded.
The Hitmen didn’t play particularly bad over the four game series, they just ran into a better team that was a whole lot more efficient at capitalizing on the opportunities that presented themselves.
Thursday’s 5-1 loss showed just how difficult a challenge the Hitmen faced.
“They’re a really good team over there and, you know what? We came out every single night and we fought until the end and that’s all you can say about our group,” said Hitmen forward Beck Malenstyn. “All year we were up for every single challenge put in front of us and we had a pretty big one coming into this playoffs and I think we’re all disappointed that we’re going home now, but I’m still proud of every single guy in that room.”
After Sam Steel had torched the Hitmen for nine points in the first three games, Calgary was able to marginalize the speedy forward in Game 4.
It was exactly what they were looking to do, but it didn’t matter.
Even with Steel being limited to only one assist, the Pats found other ways to hurt the Hitmen.
After a scoreless first period, Regina overwhelmed Calgary in the second frame with an offensive blitz that effectively put the…
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