Thursday, 19 September 2013

Lisoway Wants to Contribute at Both Ends

Quintin Lisoway
  A return to the playoffs for the Brandon Wheat Kings won't just hinge on doing the 'big things' better than they did in 2012-2013, but a lot of 'little things' as well.

  It's been well documented, including by myself, about the Wheat Kings lack of scoring, defensive woes and specialty teams play last season that, ultimately, caused the team to miss the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.

  But there were a lot of things within games the team also strugged with, one of which was faceoffs.

  The team's lack of prowness in the faceoff circle was particularly prominent on special teams, where the team consistently wasted the first 15-20 seconds of every power-play because they had to chase the puck back into their own end because they couldn't win the faceoff in the offensive zone or, conversely, get stuck in their own zone on the penalty-kill for the same reason.

  Second-year Wheat Kings' centre Quintin Lisoway is one of those that paid attention to that fact, and spent part of the off-season trying to improve that area of his game.

  "Definitely something that I worked on over the summer.  I've really been taking pride in my faceoffs...I know it's an important part of the game," said Lisoway after practice on Wednesday, "It's a key thing if you be put out there in the final minute and get that draw because it's key for us to get the puck out of our zone."

  It's interesting to talk to Lisoway about some of the finer points of playing and contributing in the Western Hockey League.

  A big-time scorer during his minor hockey career, Lisoway scored twice and had five points in 38 games with the Wheat Kings last season.

  The 5-foot-10, 190 pound Neepawa product has found putting the puck in the net much more difficult at the WHL level, but feels his game is much more rounded.

  "I think it's every kids dream to put points up on the board.  I just feel confident going into this year, having one year under my belt," said Lisoway, "I feel I can help the team out offensively but, if not, I feel my defensive play has really picked up and I feel I can fill that role with the Wheat Kings."

  Lisoway is also member of the penalty-kill unit -- a unit that finished dead-last in the WHL last season with a kill rate of just 71.7 per cent.

  He says that's also an area they'll need to be much better in this year.

  Brandon opens the regular season by visiting Moose Jaw on Friday night before hosting the Warriors in their home opener on Saturday (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...something new this year is the players will be wearing #'s on the front of their helmets as well as the back, giving fans the opportunity to better identify the players.  It was a move the NHL adopted last year, and the WHL followed suit this year...Moose Jaw and Regina exchanged forwards Wednesday, with the Warriors sending Carter Hansen, 18, to the Pats for Jack Rodewald, 19, and a conditional pick in the 2016 Bantam Draft...the Seattle Thunderbirds claimed F Erik Benoit, 20, off waivers from the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday.

As seen on Jens Meilleur here, fans will be able to identify players better
this year thanks to #'s on the front of their helmets!

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