Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sutherland Looking to Knock Off Wheat Kings

Brock Sutherland
Brandon product Brock Sutherland is going to do his best to end the Wheat Kings’ season.

The 20-year old Sutherland joined Calgary in an early season trade with Tri-City and helped solidify a defence core that helped the Hitmen finish eighth in the league in goals against (221) while allowing just 1,957 shots against, the second-lowest total in the Western Hockey League.

“Ya’know our D are big and doing a good job of playing the role of big, tough defencemen,” said Sutherland after Wednesday’s Hitmen practice, “We’ve got guys up front, some older guys, some younger guys that really everyone has been contributing and helping out with the offence so it’s been good.”

It took a while for the Hitmen to gel this season. In fact, they were just a couple of games above the .500 mark halfway through the season before going on a tear that saw the team win 27 of their final 36 regular season contests and propel their way to third-place in the Eastern Conference.

“We came back from Christmas and we flew right to Prince George there and we ended up losing to the Cougars and that was big loss for us and really disappointing and that kind of set the tone,” said Sutherland, “We kind of said enough of this, we’re a better team than this and we showed that in the second half so it’s been good.”

Sutherland and fellow 20-year old Collin Bowman added a lot of leadership and experience to the Hitmen defence core, and the duo will hope to do the same during the playoffs.

Sutherland was played 39 post-season games, second on the Hitmen behind Bowman’s 47, with 22 of those games coming in 2010 when he helped the Tri-City Americans all the way to the Western Hockey League final.

“It’s big. Going to the finals all way there with Tri-City is big and was good experience and there’s still some guys left over from that Calgary squad that we played (in 2010) that have the playoff experience,” said Sutherland, “Other than that, with the year these guys had last year, there’s not too many guys with playoff experience so us older guys try to lead and teach the younger guys what it’s all about.”

Never a big scorer from the back end, Sutherland finished the regular season with two goals and 16 points in 70 games but did finish 18th overall and seventh among all defencemen in the WHL with a +30 rating.

No comments: