Friday, 30 December 2011

Swyripa Settling Into Stone's Spot

Wheat Kings' captain Mark Stone continued his torrid pace at the World Juniors Thursday night, notching two goals and an assist in Canada's 10-2 win over Denmark.

The victory improved Canada's record to 3-and-0 heading into their New Year's Eve showdown with the United States.

Stone now has six goals and seven points in three tournament games, goals in seven straight games or scrimmages while with the Canadian team, and in 25 of his last 31 games if you include his November and December hot streak with Brandon.

Stone also appeared to suffer a bit of a hand injury in the second period of Thursday's contest but did finish the game.

By the way, the record for goals in a single tournament by a Canadian player was set by John Anderson, who had 11 in 1977.

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Jason Swyripa
While Mark Stone is busy scoring at the World Juniors, Jason Swyripa is, figuratively, trying to fill his skates with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Swyripa is patrolling the wing on a line with Brenden Walker and Michael Ferland, which is Stone's usual spot in the lineup.

"You have more confidence playing with those guys, knowing they're going to make the play," said the second-year forward after Thursday's practice, "You kind of feed off their level of play and it helps out your game."

The 18-year old Calgary product, who has played 109 consecutive games since joining the Wheat Kings at the start of last season, is also penalty-killing for the first time in his WHL career.

"It's more ice time for me and I just want to go out there and help out the team," said Swyripa, "If penalty-kill is what the team is calling for, I'm happy to fill in."

Swyripa and new teammate Curtis Honey have something in common.

They were both MVP's of the prestigious Mac's Midget Tournament, which is being held this week in Calgary.

Swyripa earned the honour in 2009 when his UFA Bisons lost in the final while Honey and fellow Wheat King Dakota Conroy helped the SSAC Athletics win last year's title with Honey earning the 2010 MVP Award.

"It's a great tournament and something that you always look up to growing up," said Swyripa, "A lot of people come out and you have to work hard and bring your compete level every game or else you're out of the tournament."

Swyripa has bragging rights in thhe Brandon dressing room after his former team beat SSAC 6-4 on Thursday at the Mac's.

The Wheat Kings have seven prospects playing at the tournament including 2010 seventh round pick Kyler Hehn.

Hehn is among the tournament leaders in scoring with two goals and eight points in four games for the undefeated St. Albert Raiders.

Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings host the Eastern conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...Wheat Kings' rookie Ayrton Nikkel and Team Pacific opened the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor with a 5-2 win over Team West on Thursday. Nikkel was held off the scoresheet...the Red Deer Rebels were involved in a pair of trades on Thursday. Red Deer sent F Daulton Siwak and a third-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft to the Prince George Cougars for F Charles Inglis and also acquired D Devan Fafard and a seventh-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft from the Saskatoon Blades for D Matthew Pufahl and F Locke Muller...former Wheat King Aris Brimanis has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Hannover Indians (German Division Two).

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