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Sonne gets three points as Calgary blanks Vancouver 4-0 in battle of the best

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Brett Sonne scored a goal and added two assists as the Calgary Hitmen blanked the Vancouver Giants 4-0 in a showdown between the two best teams in the Western Hockey League on Friday night.

Bostjan Golicic, Michael Stone and Kyle Bortis also scored as the Hitmen (60-9-3-1) retained top spot in the WHL, four points ahead of the Giants (55-8-1-3), who suffered only their third regulation-time loss at home. The win greatly improved the Eastern Division-leading Hitmen's chances of securing home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

All of Calgary's goals came on the power play as the Hitmen capitalized on four of seven man-advantage opportunities. The Giants were blanked on just two power plays.

Hitmen goaltender Martin Jones made 28 saves en route to his league-leading 44th win and seventh shutout of the season. Calgary outshot Vancouver 29-28.

It was only the Hitmen's second win in the past four games. Calgary had dropped two of three decisions before Friday.

The win gave the Hitmen a sweep of their two-game regular-season series with the Giants. The clubs can only meet again this season if they reach the WHL finals.

The game had a playoff atmosphere from the opening face-off as the crowd chanted like it was the seventh and deciding game of a championship series. Calgary led 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 after the second.

Sonne gave Calgary a 1-0 lead on a power play 13:54 into the game. He came out of the corner and beat Vancouver goaltender Tyson Sexsmith with a harmless-looking backhand.

The goal, Sonne's 47th of the season, came while Vancouver captain Jon Blum was serving a tripping penalty. Blum returned to the Giants lineup after missing 10 games with a shoulder injury.

Golicic put the Hitmen ahead 2-0 on another power play at 9:01 of the second period as he deflected Alex Plante's wrist shot from the point over a falling Sexsmith. Stone scored on another power play at 2:36 of the third period. With the goal, Stone atoned for a pair of penalties that he took in the first and second periods.

Bortis closed out the scoring at 18:26 of the final frame. Both of Calgary's third-period goals came with Vancouver's James Henry in the penalty box, culminating a night in which the Giants showed a rare lack of discipline at times.

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