Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Ciarelli Hits Milestones

It's been a good year so far for fourth-year Wheat Kings' centre Paul Ciarelli.

The 20-year old has set career highs with nine goals and 18 points in the club's first 28 games of the year while his four game-winning goals tie him for the WHL lead in that department.

Ciarelli says his offensive success has been a combination of maturity and opportunity.

"I think coming into this year, I really wanted to make it my best," said Ciarelli after practice Tuesday, "This year, I've had a lot more confidence, I think the coaches are trusting me a lot more so I get more ice time, and right now I'm playing with some pretty good players and I have to thank them for the things that are going good so far."

Ciarelli hit a career milestone this past weekend, playing in his 200th career WHL game.

The Winnipeg product played his first game as an affiliate player on December 27, 2007, and Ciarelli says he remembers being really nervous prior to the contest.

"It's crazy how fast the time goes by, and the years. I remember the first day being called up here,llooking around the dressing room and having my eyes wide open," said Ciarelli, who has 24 goals and 53 points in his career, "It's a pretty amazing accomplishment so far."

More important for Ciarelli these days is helping the Wheat Kings end a three-game losing streak tonight when they entertain the Vancouver Giants.

Brandon has allowed four or more goals in seven straight games going into tonight's contest but after two straight days of practice, Ciarelli feels they'll be able to tighten things up defensively.

"We spent a lot of time on it, and the guys are ready to go," said Ciarelli, "Having three losses in a row hurts us in the standings. I think Vancouver will be a good test for us. They've been playing good lately so I think if we play some good D Zone, the rest will take care of itself."

The Wheat Kings will most likely get a couple of players back from the injury list tonight.

Defenceman Ryley Miller and forward Dominick Favreau have each missed the last four games but both practiced fully on Monday and Tuesday.

Tyrel Seaman (upper body, 1 week) and Dakota Conroy (foot, day-to-day) remain on the sidelines for Brandon.

Chaff...the trek to Brandon has been pretty kind to the Giants over the years. Vancouver lost in their first ever visit to Brandon in February of 2002, but has won four straight at WCGP since...the Philadelphia Flyers have recalled former Wheat Kings' co-captain Brayden Schenn from the minors. Schenn had two goals and four points in three games in his latest stint with Adirondack of the AHL...after spending one day with the New Jersey Devils on Monday, former Wheat King Alexander Urbom was returned to their AHL affiliate in Albany yesterday.

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