The Chilliwack Bruins suffered their first setback in Alberta, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Hitmen in Calgary Tuesday night.
After opening a five game road trip with impressive wins over Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, Chilliwack was upended by the worst team in the league, falling to 15-13-2-1 while the Hitmen improved to 10-21-2-0.
The Bruins scored the only goal in period one.
Returning to the scene of his first Western Hockey League goal, 16-year-old rookie Brandon Magee scored his sixth of the year with a top-shelf short-side rocket from the right faceoff circle. Steven Hodges and Dylen McKinlay drew the assists.
Jamie Crooks doubled the Chilliwack lead 6:29 into period two, finishing off a beautiful back-door feed from Kevin Sundher. Chilliwack’s top-ranked power play took just 15 seconds to cash in on a Matt McKenzie interference minor, with Crooks beating Calgary keeper Michael Snider for his 10th of the year.
The Hitmen got that one back on a power play of their own, with Bruin blueliner Tyler Stahl banished to the box for a check from behind. Chilliwack native Justin Kirsch camped out in the slot and got credit for the goal as the puck deflected off his skate and in.
Calgary drew even at 11:59, with Trevor Cheek finishing off a beautiful give-and-go with linemate Misha Fisenko.
Ex-Kamloops Blazer Jimmy Bubnick gave the Hitmen thei game winner 7:50 into period three. The Atlanta Thrashers draft pick took a pass from Nathan MacMaster, caught Bruins netminder Braden Gamble moving away from the post and threaded the needle with a shot over his right shoulder. Bubnick’s 14th of the year came on the power play, with Mitch Topping serving two minutes for a phantom slash.
Overall, Calgary went two for six with the man advantage while the Bruins went one for five.
Chilliwack’s best chance to tie came with four minute remaining as Roman Horak rang a shot off the goal post behind Snider.
Gamble came to the bench with 1:57 remaining, giving the Bruins six attackers. But Snider made late saves on Crooks and Robin Soudek to preserve the win.
The three stars were Bubnick (first), Fisenko (second) and Sundher (third).
The Bruins have two more games before the Christmas break. The trip continues tomorrow night in Red Deer before wrapping up Friday in Edmonton.
Chilliwack hits the road again after the break for a pair of games in Prince George before returning home to face the Moose Jaw Warriors on New Years Eve.