Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Melnychuk Wheat Kings' Ironman

The Brandon Wheat Kings' 'ironman' will hit a bit of a milestone tonight.

Providing he doesn't stub his toe getting out of bed Tuesday, Brodie Melnychuk will play his 200th consecutive game (WHL regular season + playoffs) when the Wheat Kings entertain the Prince Albert Raiders (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group).

"You can attribute it to healthy eating or you can attribute it to a lot of things but a lot of it is luck too," said Melnychuk after Monday's practice, "Sometimes, you just going into the boards wrong and you get an injury or you pull something. I've been pretty lucky through those 200 games and, hopefully, I keep it going."

Melnychuk leads all Brandon blueliners in scoring his season with five goals and 22 points in 40 games while also sporting a -10 rating.

Being physically able to play 200 straight games is just one part of the equation.

The other is, obviously, having the mental focus to perform night-in and night-out.

"It's something that takes time to learn. It's just preparation, you have to have a routine in place so that it's the same every time and you have to be able to play long stretches," adds Melnychuk, "Especially for me this year, I've been playing a lot this year..you just have to get into the game and get playing. As long as you have a routine, it's something that'll prepare you for the game."

When asked about any superstitions he may have that contributed to his longevity, Melnychuk says he didn't have any unless you count his game-day routine.

That includes showing up to the rink at the same time every game, having his pre-game nap at the same time, eating his pre-game meal at the same time but he considers those a routine rather than superstition.

Brandon enters play Tuesday three points behind Prince Albert and Lethbridge for eighth-place in the Eastern Conference.

The Wheat Kings and Raiders will meet three times over the next nine days.

"Those are all big games," says Melnychuk, "It's going to be good to play those guys. We've going to have a rivalry with them, and hopefully we can get as many points out of them as we can."
Tuesday's game is the third of six meetings between the Raiders and Wheat Kings this season.

Brandon and Prince Albert have split their season series so far, with each team recording a home-ice victory.

Chaff...Ryan Pulock and Tyrel Seaman won't play for Brandon Tuesday night versus Prince Albert despite their commitment to Team West being completed...Michael Ferland led the Wheat Kings in scoring in the month of December with 13 points (1 G, 12 A) in 10 games...Brandon has scored first in just five of their last 14 games…the Wheat Kings have outshot their opposition in eight of their last 12 games and 23 of 40 games overall this season.

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