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Hitmen roll into second round of playoffs

By Sonny Sachdeva, April 9 2015

The Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Calgary Hitmen have continued their dominant 2014–15 season, defeating the Kootenay Ice in a thrilling seven-game series to advance to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

After finishing the regular season as Central Division champions, the Hitmen will face division rivals, the Medicine Hat Tigers, in the next round of the postseason. Calgary’s regular-season scoring leader, Adam Tambellini, has stepped up his game considerably in an effort to earn his team a chance at the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

Through seven playoff games thus far, Tambellini has racked up seven goals and 15 points, leading all playoff skaters in both categories.

Tambellini’s exceptional play earned him the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Player of the Week honours this past week — designating him as the top player from all three of the CHL’s leagues (the WHL, the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League).

Hitmen forward Connor Rankin sits tied with Tambellini for most playoff goals and ranks third overall in points with 10 to his name.

Calgary will face a tough Medicine Hat club that managed to grind down the Red Deer Rebels in only five games to move on to the semi-finals.

The two clubs split their regular season series with each winning three of the six contests.

While the Hitmen may have had a tougher first-round series and have already played two more games than the Tigers, their potent offensive core of Tambellini, Rankin, Jake Virtanen and Travis Sanheim position them as the favourites to move past Medicine Hat en route to the conference finals.

However, to do so they’ll have to figure out Tigers netminder Marek Langhamer, who currently leads all playoff goaltenders with a save-percentage of .945 and a goals-against-average of 1.75.

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