Monday, 29 September 2014

Hawryluk, Quenneville Have Successful Returns

Jayce Hawryluk (left) and John Quenneville both returned
to the Wheat Kings' lineup this past weekend
  It was quite a return for Jayce Hawryluk and John Quenneville to the Brandon Wheat Kings' lineup over the weekend.

  Hawryluk had three goals, including two game-winning goals, and five points while Quenneville had a goal and four assists in leading the Wheat Kings to wins over Saskatoon and Swift Current on Friday and Saturday.

  Hawryluk was returned to the Wheat Kings from the Florida Panthers last week after attending his first NHL training camp.

  "I feel like I honestly just matured a lot as a player and as a person, being down there around those guys and seeing how they act, how they treat the younger guys and all that," said Hawyluk last week, "I feel like I can bring all that experience and bring it back here and be a good guy on the ice and off the ice."

  Hawryluk was Florida's second round pick (32nd overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft and played in his NHL pre-season game last Wednesday, a 4-3 shootout loss to Dallas during which he saw just over 11 1/2 minutes of icetime.

  "Playing against some stars of the league like Seguin and Benn all night was quite the experience," said Hawryluk, "I was a little nervous to start but I felt like after the first couple of shifts, are starting to settle in and get more confident and I feel like the game slowed down.  I really enjoyed, I had a great time...it was awesome."

  Quenneville, meanwhile, flew back to Brandon on Friday -- arriving just in time for the Wheat Kings' home game against Saskatoon.

  Quenneville was New Jersey's first round pick (30th overall) in the 2014 Draft and spent nearly two weeks in the Devils' training camp.

  "Got a chance to practice every single day with NHL players and learned a lot," said Quenneville, "There's a lot I can take from that and I'm excited to bring what I learned back to Brandon."

  Players attending NHL training camps for the first time usually come away with two things -- a feeling of how close they are to playing at the level, and what it'll take to get there.

  Quenneville was not different.

  "More than anything, it's a mental thing.  You need to think that you can play at that level, and that's the hugest thing," said Quenneville, "Just for me to get that kind of experience to see that they're really good players, but if I can put in the work and do what I need to do, someday I can play there with those guys."

  Hawryluk, Quenneville and the Wheat Kings are idle until Friday, when they'll host the Tri-City Americans.

  Here's interviews I did with Jayce Hawryluk and John Quenneville on the weekend about their NHL Training Camp experiences...

John Quenneville

Jayce Hawryluk

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Another Strong 3rd Lifts Wheat Kings to Win

Kord Pankewicz scored his first career WHL goal Saturday

   The Brandon Wheat Kings improved their early-season record to 4-0-0-0 on Saturday night with a 5-2 win over the Swift Current Broncos.
  Jayce Hawryluk and John Quenneville had a goal and two assists each for Brandon, all in a third period that saw the Wheat Kings scored three unanswered goals after the Broncos tied the game 2-2 early in the final frame.
  Tim McGauley also scored a key shorthanded goal for the Wheat Kings in the third period, with Brandon having outscored their opponents 12-6 in the third in their four games this season.
  “From what I’ve seen of our group so far, we haven’t paniced or lost our composure in situations where things haven’t gone our way,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “Hopefully, that’s a sign of everybody being a year older, maturity and more mental toughness.”
  Brett Lernout gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal late in the first period, the third time in four games the Wheat Kings have surrendered the opening goal of a game.
  Tyler Coulter tied it early in the second for Brandon before Kord Pankewicz gave the Wheat Kings a 2-1 lead at the 8:40 mark with his first career Western  Hockey League goal.
  The goal for Pankewicz, a third-year defenceman, came in his 88th career WHL game.
  League scoring leader Jay Merkley tied the game with the Broncos’ second power-play goal of the game 6:08 into the third period, following by Hawryluk’s goal two minutes and 42 seconds later that gave Brandon a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the night.
  The Wheat Kings four straight victories to open the season is impressive, but Saturday’s game was certainly their most difficult test to date.
  “We talked before the game about how good this game was going to be for us, to play a real good team and a team that we know is going to be a contender at the end of the year,” said McCrimmon, “I thought our defence moved the puck really well, I thought they made the game real easy for our team tonight, and it was a real good game.”
  The Wheat Kings return home to Brandon for a pair of games this coming week, hosting the Tri-City Americans on Friday and the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday.
Chaff...Russell product Rylee Zimmer scored his first career WHL goal Saturday in Regina’s 4-3 win in Prince Albert.  Zimmer’s goal came on a penalty shot in the third period that tied the game 3-3...Boissevain’s Meyer Nell scored his second goal of the season Saturday, helping the Red Deer Rebels to a 7-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Triumphant Return for Hawryluk

Jayce Hawryluk made his season debut with the
Wheat Kings on Friday
  The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their season-opening winning streak to three games Friday night with a 6-3 win over the Saskatoon Blades.

  Jayce Hawryluk scored twice in his return to the Wheat Kings' lineup including a penalty shot goal 3:33 into the third period that gave Brandon a 4-2 lead and proved to be the game-winning goal.

  The Blades jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 3:07 of Friday's contest on goals by Nelson Nogier and Amid Krupic 54 seconds apart.

  Brandon tied the contest before the end of the first period on goals by Jesse Gabrielle and Tim McGauley, with the teams then engaging in a goalless second period to go into the final frame all even 2-2.

  Ryan Pilon gave Brandon its first lead of the contest on a power-play goal 1:03 into the third period, the first of three unanswered goals for the Wheat Kings.

  Pilon also finished with two assists in the contest, giving the 18-year old defenceman six points (2 G, 4 A) in three games so far this season.

  "I take good pride playing in my defensive zone but whenever that opportunity is there to jump up and I think a big part of our team the past two years is the defence jumping into the plays and getting points," said Pilon on CKLQ's post-game show, "With (Ryan Pulock) being gone, I feel that somebody has to step in and fill that role as best they can, and I feel I can be that guy."

  Rihards Bukarts added the sixth Brandon goal in the final minute while John Quenneville also returned to the Wheat Kings' lineup Friday and contributed a pair of assists.

  Jordan Papirny finished with 26 saves in the Brandon net including a pair of spectacular stops off Joh Uhrich and Chase Clayton on a 2-on-0 midway through the second period.

  The Wheat Kings return to action Saturday when they visit the Swift Current Broncos (8:00 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

Chaff...Brandon scratched D Eric Roy (upper body), F Ty Lewis (upper body), F Kirklan Lycar (healthy), F Tanner Kaspick (healthy), F Duncan Campbell (healthy), D Mark Matsuba (healthy), D Mark Taraschuk (healthy) and D Michael Mylchreest (healthy)...former Wheat Kings' D Ryan Pulock scored a first period power-play goal in the NY Islanders 3-2 pre-sason win over New Jersey Friday.  The goal was the first for the Islanders in the Barclay's Center, which will become the Isles permanent home starting next season...attendance Friday was 3.708.

Wheat Kings' Duo Set for Season Debuts

John Quenneville (left) and Jayce Hawryluk should make their
season debuts with the Wheat Kings on Friday
  The Brandon Wheat Kings' lineup should get a boost on Friday night with the return of forwards Jayce Hawryluk and John Quenneville.

  The duo were returned to the Wheat Kings by their NHL teams earlier this week and, barring any travel issues, should make their season debuts when Brandon hosts the Saskatoon Blades (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  "They're anxious to get back and join their team," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon after Thursday's practice, "As much as it's been a great experience for them at NHL camp and an enjoyable experience, I think that, in talking with both players, that they're both really looking forward to the weekend and getting back in the lineup."

  Despite the absence of, arguably, their top two forwards, the Wheat Kings opened their 2014-2015 regular season with back-to-back wins over the Regina Pats last weekend.

  "We've, I think to our players' credit, done a pretty good job of worrying about the players that are here and not worrying about the guys that are away at NHL camps and I think because of that some guys have taken advantage of opportunities," said McCrimmon, "Now with Jayce and Johnny being returned, it's going to make the team better, its going to make our special teams better, but it only improves our team if everyone keeps playing hard."

  The return of Quenneville and Hawryluk leaves the Wheat Kings with only one player away at pro camp in New York Rangers' draft pick Richard Nejezchleb.

  Nejezchleb reported to the training camp of the Rangers' AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, earlier this week.

Chaff...Elkhorn product and Flyers' 2014 first round pick Travis Sanheim signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Philadelphia on Thursday...the Blades acquired 20-year old F Sam McKechnie from the Seattle Thunderbirds Thursday for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2015 Bantam Draft...D Eric Roy (upper body, week-to-week) and F Ty Lewis (upper body, week-to-week) will remain out of Brandon's lineup this weekend.


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Panthers Return Hawryluk to Brandon

Jayce Hawryluk does an interview prior to
Wednesday's NHL pre-season game.
  The Brandon Wheat Kings got another shot of good news Thursday morning.

  Jayce Hawryluk has been assigned back to the team by the Florida Panthers after making his NHL pre-season debut Wednesday night.

  The Roblin product led the Wheat Kings in scoring last season with 24 goals and 64 points in 59 games and was chosen in the second round by the Panthers in the 2014 NHL Draft, 32nd overall.

  Hawryluk should make his season debut with the Wheat Kings Friday night when they host the Saskatoon Blades (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  John Quenneville is also expected to make his season debut Friday night after being assigned back to the Wheat Kings by the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.