Thursday, 23 October 2014

Wheat Kings' Bukarts on Hot Streak

Rihards Bukarts is tied for 2nd in the WHL Scoring Race
  Rihards Bukarts will look to continue his hot-streak Friday night when the Brandon Wheat Kings visit the Kamloops Blazers (8:30 p.m., 880 CKLQ).
  Bukarts has scored in four straight games, is riding an eight-game point-scoring streak and his moved into a tie for 2nd-place in the WHL scoring race.
  “I think that every single hockey player, when he has confidence, he can make big things and I think that’s all about me,” said Bukarts, “I’m getting in the zone every time and it kinds of works...I’m  feeling confident, I can make real big things when I’m feeling confident.”
  Bukarts looks to have taken some big strides this season after scoring 28 goals and 54 points in 65 games in his rookie season in the Western Hockey League in 2013-2014.
  “I improved a lot last year and, right now coming  back, I’m feeling more confident in my game,” said Bukarts, “Defence, offensive zone, and all these things...what I need to do and how I need to play.”
  Bukarts notched two goals and an assist in Brandon’s 7-4 victory in Prince George on Wednesday night, just hours after learning his future with the Wheat Kings could be up in the air.
  Richard Nejezchleb’s return to Brandon leaves the Wheat Kings one over the CHL limit of two import players, a situation that club will need to resolve in the next couple of weeks.
  Regardless of that outcome, Bukarts says his time in Brandon has been enjoyable.
  “This season is really exciting, we have a great team,” said Bukarts, “A Russian buddy came in and we can have some talks in our language, the coaching staff is great and I think it’s going to be a big season for our organization.”
  From Bukarts’ standpoint, he just needs to continue to produce and play the game the way he has been playing and let the off-ice roster issue resolve itself in due course.
  Nejezchleb’s return to Brandon’s lineup is at least two game away as he needs to serve a suspension that carried over from last spring’s playoffs.
Chaff...F John Quenneville (upper body) practiced fully Thursday and could return from his six-game absence Friday in Kamloops...F Peter Quenneville takes a six-game point streak into Friday’s contest (3 G, 6 A)...D Ivan Provoriv has goals in three straight games (4 G, 1 A) and leads all WHL rookies in scoring with 13 points...the Wheat Kings have scored power-play goals in 11 consecutive games going into Friday’s contest, going 20-for-61 (32.8%) over that span. 

Wheat Kings Power Past Cougars

Nolan Patrick had two goals and an assist Wednesday

  The Brandon Wheat Kings opened a seven-game road trip with a 7-4 victory over the Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night.
  Nolan Patrick and Rihards Bukarts had two goals and an assist each for the Wheat Kings as they moved into a tie with Medicine Hat for first-place in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.
  All three of Patrick’s points came on the power-play, with Brandon scoring a total of four power-play goals in the contest.
  “I thought he had something extra tonight, and I thought that before he scored a goal at all,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “He was our best forward tonight and played a real good game.”
  Patrick’s two goals were both important ones, with his power-play goal early in the second period giving Brandon their first two-goal lead of the night at 3-1, and his second coming with just under five minutes left in the third period giving the Wheat Kings a 6-4 advantage after the Cougars had scored two straight goals to turn a 5-2 game into a 5-4 contest.
  The 16-year old Patrick is now tied for third-place in rookie scoring with four goals and ten points in 12 games this season, and McCrimmon says he has no hestitation to play him in any situation.
  “He’s very responsible for a guy that’s been a premier offensive player every step of the way growing up, and will be that way in our league without question,” said McCrimmon, “He has a lot of pride in being a two-way player, and it’s very noticeable.  I trust him in a lot of situations.”
  Ivan Provorov, Tyler Coulter and Reid Duke also scored for the Wheat Kings, who won their third in a row and improved to 4-2-0-0 on the road this season.
  The Wheat Kings continue their road trip Friday night when they visit the Kamloops Blazers (8:30 p.m., 880 CKLQ).
Chaff..Bukarts extended his goal streak to four games and point streak to eight games with Wednesday’s performance...Brandon scratches were F John Quenneville (upper body, day-to-day), F Ty Lewis (upper body, week-to-week), D Mark Taraschuk (healthy) and D Mark Matsuba (healthy)...Brandon has scored at least one power-play goal in 11 consecutive games.

Nejezchleb Returning to Brandon

Richard Nejezchleb
  The Brandon Wheat Kings’ import situation got a little more crowded on Wednesday.
  20-year old Richard Nejezchleb was releasd from his amateur tryout (ATO) with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack Wednesday and is on his way back to the Wheat Kings.
  Nejezchleb’s return leaves Brandon with three import players on their roster, one over the CHL limit of two.
  The Wheat Kings will have two weeks to reduce that number, with Nejezchleb or Richards Bukarts likely to be dealt.
  Defenceman Ivan Provorov cannot be traded as imports cannot be dealt the same year they are chosen in the CHL Import Draft.
  Nejezchleb also has a two-game suspension from last spring’s playoffs that he needs to serve before jumping into the Wheat Kings’ lineup.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Quenneville Earns Wheat Kings' 'C'

The Wheat Kings' '14-15 leadership group (L-to-R):
Eric Roy, Peter Quenneville, Quintin Lisoway and Colton Waltz
  Before the Wheat Kings get down to business on a seven-game road trip, they completed a little unfinished business on Tuesday.
  The club named 20-year old forward Peter Quenneville the 57th captain in franchise history, with Colton Waltz, Eric Roy and Quintin Lisoway named alternate captains for the 2014-2015 season.
  “Coming into this year, I just tried to be mature and to point guys in the right direction,” said Quenneville after the Wheat Kings’ practice in Prince George on Tuesday, “And just give some wisdom on stuff that I may have gone through when I was a younger player and help a very talented core of 17, 18 and 19-year olds.”
  Quenneville succeeds Ryan Pulock as the Wheat Kings’ captain after Pulock turned pro this season, and joins the likes of Shayne Wiebe, Darryl Boyle and Mark Derlago as players to wear Brandon’s captaincy in only their 20-year old season.
  The best comparison might be Wiebe, who also joined Brandon mid-season as a 19-year old before being captain in his final junior season.
  The list of Wheat Kings’ captain is definitely impressive, and something the Edmonton product certainly has respect for.
  “We have the big board in the room, and you definitely see it every day,” said Quenneville, “For me, it was something that was a goal of mine to try and get my name up there and be one of those guys that had the fortunate opportunity to lead their team.”
  Captains often fit into two groups – the strong, silent type that are largely to lead by example OR the type who are more of the rally the troops, rah-rah type.
  Quenneville feels he falls somewhere in the middle.
  “When I do speak, try to be pointing out stuff that I see that can help the team or provide a little insight for guys but also be the guy that knows when not to talk and is comfortable in not talking too much,” said Quenneville, “Just put my head down, working hard and doing whatever the team needs to win.”
  Quenneville also has the experience of having won a championship, being a member of the USHL champion Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2012-2013.
  Ironically, Quenneville will wear the ‘C’ for the first time Wednesday night when the Wheat Kings open a seven-game road trip by visiting the Prince George Cougars.
  Quenneville was originally drafted by the Cougars in the fourth round of the 2009 Bantam Draft and attending Rookie Camp with Prince George that year.
  However, he chose to pursue the U.S. College route until his rights were acquired by the Wheat Kings from Prince George for a third round pick in the 2015 Bantam Draft in November of 2013.
Chaff...Quenneville takes a five-game point streak into Wednesday’s contest (3 G, 6 A)...Rihards Bukarts is on a seven-game point streak (4 G, 10 A)...D Ryan Pilon has points in four straight games (0 G, 6 A)...Brandon’s last winning record on this annual late-October road trip came in 2011-2012, when they went 4-3-0-0 against the five U.S. Division teams + Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Wheat Kings' Offence Rolling

Jayce Hawryluk scored four times Saturday

  An offensive roll that began on Friday night continued for the Brandon Wheat Kings Saturday.
  Jayce Hawryluk scored four goals to pace the Wheat Kings to a 10-3 victory over the Portland Winterhawks Saturday night, 24 hours after Brandon scored five goals in the final eight minutes and 43 seconds of an 8-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos.
  Brandon has now scored 25 goals in their last three home games, all of them victories, and the club is now averaging a league-high 5.36 goals per game.
  “It clearly shows that we have four strong lines and we have a lot of firepower,” said Hawryluk on CKLQ’s post-game show, “It doesn’t matter which line is out there, we’re all capable of putting the puck in the net.”
  Reid Duke scored his first goal as a Wheat Kings and added three assists while also finishing +5 on the night, while Rihards Bukarts and Peter Quenneville added a goal and two assists each.
  Ivan Provorov, Nolan Patrick and Kale Clague also scored for the Wheat Kings, who hit double digits in goals for the first time since an 11-3 victory in Prince Albert on January 7, 2012.
  Hawryluk, meanwhile, became the first Wheat King to score four goals in a single game since Michael Ferland did so on February 18, 2012 – snapping a three-game pointless skid in the process.
  “I think the games prior, I’ve been having chances and the pucks just haven’t been going in,” said Hawryluk, “Tonight, the bounces were going my way and the puck was just finding the back of the net.”
  The victory improved Brandon’s East Division-leading record to 8-2-1-0, including a 5-0-1-0 mark on home ice.
  The Wheat Kings now hit the road for a seven-game road trip, beginning Wednesday night in Prince George.
Chaff...Hawryluk's first goal early in the second period proved to be the game-winning goal, his WHL-leading fourth of the season...Bukarts now has points in seven straight games (4 G, 10 A) while Peter Quenneville’s point streak reached five games (3 G, 6 A)...Brandon’s scratches were F John Quenneville (upper body), F Ty Lewis (upper body), D Mark Matsuba (healthy) and D Mark Taraschuk (healthy)...Brandon broke a personal five-game losing streak against Portland, winning against the Winterhawks for the first time since October 17, 2008...Saturday’s crowd of 4,533 was the Wheat Kings’ largest of the young season.