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Backlund to face Hitmen

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames prospect Mikael Backlund is coming to Calgary to face the Calgary Hitmen in the Western Hockey League Championship.

Backlund, a first round pick of the Flames in 2007, has been playing for the Kelowna Rockets since January.

The Rockets defeated Vancouver in six games to win the Western Conference championship this week and Backlund was a force in the final game, scoring three goals, including the game-winner, in a 5-4 overtime win.

WHL Western Conference Champions for the first time since 2005, the Rockets will now face the Calgary Hitmen in the best-of-seven 2009 WHL Championship series.

The first two games of the series are Friday and Saturday at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Backlund netted the overtime winner four minutes into the extra frame. Backlund, who joined the Rockets in January after playing for Sweden at the World Junior Championship, redirected a Tysen Dowzak point shot early in overtime to lift the Rockets to the win.

Backlund has steadily improved at the WHL level and was named as the BOSTON PIZZA CHL and WHL Player of the Week for April 13-19.

Backlund picked up five points, scoring one goal and four assists to go with a +3 rating in two games during that time, helping the  Rockets earn a 1-1 split on the road in the opening games of the 2009 Kal Tire WHL Western Conference Championship best-of-seven series with the Giants.
Backlund, from Vasteras, Sweden, is playing his 19 year-old-season with the Kelowna Rockets.  The Rockets selected Backlund 43rd overall at the 2007 CHL Import Draft but did not make his debut in the WHL until this January following the 2009 World Junior Championships in Ottawa. 

The first round – 24th overall selection of the Calgary Flames at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft appeared in his first NHL game on January 8th prior to joining the Rockets on January 12th.
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