Thursday, 8 December 2011

Meilleur Hoping to Add Offence

Jens Meilleur flips around in practice Wednesday
The Brandon Wheat Kings open a three-game Alberta road trip Thursday night when they visit the Edmonton Oil Kings (7:30 p.m., CKLQ).

The Wheat Kings are coming off a 2-0 home-ice loss to Regina on Sunday night, the first time this season the WHL’s highest-scoring team has been shut out.

With that in mind, and the fact WHL scoring leader Mark Stone, Michael Ferland and Alessio Bertaggia could be leaving for an extended period of time for the World Junior Hockey Championship in mere days, the club could be already looking for players to increase their offensive roles.

One of those that could fit the bill is second-year winger Jens Meilleur, who has two goals and five points in nine games since returning from a wrist injury on November 18th.

“The first weekend there, we had four games in five nights and that was pretty tough on my body,” said Meilleur after Brandon’s practice in Red Deer on Wednesday, “I felt the guys helped me out and I got in pretty quick. I felt good but definitely after that weekend was when I started feeling 100 per cent.”

Meilleur was off to a good start to his 2011-2012 season, scoring a team-high three goals in the pre-season and picked up a pair of assists in six games before being injured on October 7th.

“I get chances with the top lines here in some guys and once those guys hopefully make it with all their teams, I have to step up and definitely play a lot bigger role,” added Meilleur, who also says he’s a lot more comfortable in his sophomore season in the WHL, “I know what’s ahead and what’s happening and I’m just more comfortable and more confident out there.”

An increase in Meilleur’s offence would be welcome for a Wheat Kings’ team that has had Stone, Ferland and Bertaggia account for 42 per cent of their goals so far this season.

Chaff…Ferland will serve the third and final game of his suspension Thursday, and is eligible to return to Brandon’s lineup Friday in Red Deer…Brandon C Tyrel Seaman will miss his fifth straight game Thursday with a suspected concussion…D Brodie Melnychuk has moved past Jeff Odgers and into 12th-place on the Wheat Kings’ all-time games played list with 277. Next up on the list is Eric Fehr at 279…Odgers will be the guest speaker at the Saturday night banquet at the Telus Cup Western Regional Championship, which will take place from March 29 – April 1 in Virden.

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