Wednesday, 4 December 2013

PK Change Eyes Improvement

Jens Meilleur
  One area of concern during the first half of the Western Hockey League season for the Brandon Wheat Kings has been their penalty-kill.

  The club is killing at a 68.3 per cent success rate over the last 22 games and have allowed 13 power-play goals against in their last 11 contest.

  The Wheat Kings have made a move to a more aggressive system on their penalty-kill the last couple of games and forward Jens Meilleur is hoping it'll be more effective for them.

  "I feel it made a difference, and I think a lot of guys penalty-killing do like the change," said Meilleur on Tuesday, "I know we let in a couple of goals in Moose Jaw but I think that was due to guys just kind of learning how to do it on the first couple of PK's.  I think as we went along, we were pretty effective in both games."

  "The biggest area where our team could improve is on our penalty-kill.  We made some changes to that on our week off and I felt on the weekend we did a better job and we didn't have the results in Moose Jaw we would have liked but liked some of the things that we did and then, of course, Saturday we only had one penalty-kill and successfully killed it," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon this week, "We've made some changes, we're looking to dp some things differently and be more aggressive in certain situations and, hopefully, we'll have improved results because of it."

  For the season, Brandon is ranked 19th in the WHL with a 72.6 per cent success rate and it would appear that opposing teams employ the umbrella power-play setup are most effective against the Wheat Kings.

  That system means forwards have to be very aware of where the shooting lanes are, and it also means there has to be effective communications among the players on the penalty-kill unit.

  "Those types of power-plays, that's when work ethic gets involved," said Meilleur, "You have to do a lot of starts and stops, getting from one lane to the other and making sure all lanes are covered."

  The Wheat Kings look to turn their home fortunes around Wednesday night when they entertain the Regina Pats (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  Brandon has lost three of their last five games at home including Saturday's overtime loss to Prince Albert.

Chaff...rookie forward Ryley Lindgren should return to the Brandon lineup Tuesday after missing two games with an upper body injury...goaltender Curtis Honey is practicing fully with the Wheat Kings but remains day-to-day...Jayce Hawryluk was named the Wheat Kings' Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries IMPACT Player of the Month for November on Tuesday.  Hawryluk had eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points in 13 games last month while recording a +11 rating.

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