By Monika Moravan
BRANDON, Man. – The Calgary Hitmen clinched home-ice for the 2010 Memorial Cup semifinal with a resounding 5-1 drubbing over the host Brandon Wheat Kings.
While the Wheat Kings won the on-ice fisticuffs, their fight was no match for the offensive might of Calgary duo Kris Foucault and Jimmy Bubnick, who combined for seven points, all in the first period.
The Hitmen scored first when Bubnick won a draw in the Wheat Kings zone and immediately passed the puck to Foucault who wired it past Brandon goaltender Jacob De Serres at 3:15 for a 1-0 lead.
Brandon quickly bounced back with a Jay Fehr goal 29 seconds later. Wheat Kings winger Toni Rajala put on an impressive puckhandling display, weaving his way behind the Calgary net and passing the puck to Aaron Lewadniuk, who spotted Fehr to his right. Calgary goalie Marty Jones was trapped like a monkey in the middle as Fehr popped the puck behind him.
Calgary made a point of crashing the Brandon net, a tactic that paid off at 6:36 when Foucault, to the left of De Serres, tipped in a slow-moving Michael Stone shot that needed a helping hand to cross the goal line to make it 2-1 Calgary.
Cody Beach started an offensive onslaught by the Hitmen, scoring the first of three Calgary goals in 3:03. It started when Calgary defenseman Giffen Nyren laid a hit on Lewadniuk outside the blueline and advanced the puck into Brandon’s zone. Rigby Burgart spotted Beach who knocked the puck in the net, while De Serres was sprawled in the crease.
The Hitmen struck again just 67 seconds later with a trio of players in front of De Serres. Bubnick guided the puck through a crowd and in the net at 14:54.
With the Wheat Kings down 4-1 Travis Hamonic tried to stir things up, entering into a center ice tussle with Beach.
The fight revved up the crowd and the potent Calgary offense. Bubnick passed to Foucault who took a shot on net, where Tyler Shattock was waiting and popped in the rebound on De Serres’ glove side.