Thursday, 22 March 2012

Wheat Kings' Lineup at Calgary (Game #1 - March 22, 2012)

1. Corbin Boes
33. Brandon Anderson

Defence Pairings
3. Brodie Melnychuk - 2. Ryan Pulock
32. Ryley Miller - 7. Eric Roy
6. Ayrton Nikkel - 5. Colton Waltz

27. Michael Ferland - 8. Brenden Walker - 16. Mark Stone
19. Darian Dziurzynski - 25. Paul Ciarelli - 24. Jens Meilleur
13. Alessio Bertaggia - 29. Kevin Sundher - 22. Dominick Favreau
18. Bruno Mraz - 21. Tyrel Seaman - 14. Jason Swyripa

- For the first time in four years, there was no guesswork when it came to figuring out who the Wheat Kings would start in goal for Game #1 of the playoffs. Corbin Boes started ten straight games to close out the regular season and gets the call, though the chose of backup did raise my eyebrows. Brandon Anderson just re-joined the team on the weekend and doesn't have more than 2-3 full practices under his belt since returning.

- Brandon scratches D Rene Hunter, F Dylan Kuczek, F Daniel Asham and F Tim McGauley in addition to G Curtis Honey. Hunter was thought to be ready to go up until today but misses his seventh straight game. That means 16-year olds Ayrton Nikkel and Colton Waltz both make their WHL playoff debuts tonight.

- It'll be interesting to see how the ice-time is distributed amongst the forwards. Kevin Sundher is just back after missing 12 of 13 games with concussion-symptoms, while Tyrel Seaman is playing just his fifth game after missing 31 because of a concusssion. How much gas that duo has in the tank may be something to watch late in tonight's contest.

- Calgary will be without forward Victor Rask who, according to a Calgary Sun report, left the arena on crutches after the Hitmen's final regular season game. Rask scored 33 goals during the regular season and had 10 goals and 21 points in the final 15 regular season games.

- Hitmen captain Cody Sylvester is also out of the Calgary lineup for Game #1. Sylvester was the second-leading scorer for the Hitmen, scoring 23 goals and 68 points. Along with Rask, that means Calgary is missing two of their top three scorers from the regular season.

- the Hitmen were a little coy about their starting goaltender for Game #1 but Winnipeg product Chris Driedger gets the call. Driedger posted a shutout in the final regular season game, but it's the first time since February 22-24 that Calgary starts the same netminder in back-to-back games.

- interesting matchup from this standpoint -- Calgary allowed the second fewest shots against in the WHL (1,957 or 27.2 per game) and outshot their opponents in 48 of 72 regular season games. Brandon allowed the fifth most shots in the WHL (2,509 or 34.8 per game) and outshot their opponents in just 28 times in 72 regular season contests.

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