Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Comfort Level Increasing for Pilon

Ryan Pilon
  The comfort level is increasing in a daily basis for Brandon Wheat Kings' defenceman Ryan Pilon.

  The 17-year old was acquired by Brandon from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in a blockbuster deal on November 16, and is starting to show why he was the third overall pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.

  In 11 games since the Christmas break, Pilon has two goals, six points and a +1 rating and has been playing regularly alongside New York Islanders' first round pick Ryan Pulock on the Wheat Kings' top pairing.

  "Points are coming now, so it's nice that way.  Confidence with the team and everything, it's been nice," said Pilon this week, "Just getting used to the team, getting used to everybody's tendancies...playing with Pulock, he nothing but help and great things.  He's been a great help and made the transition very easy for me."

  The pairing with Pulock is one that, initially, the Wheat Kings didn't pursue but it didn't take long to determine that the two Ryan's could feed off one another and become one of the top pairings in the WHL.

  When Pilon first arrived in Brandon in mid-November, one of the things he said he was most looking forward to was learning the ropes from an experienced blueliner like Pulock.

  And now, that seems to be coming to fruition.

  "The first couple of games, getting used to each other's game and what we're going to do," added Pilon of his partnership with Pulock, "Now, it's just is getting broken down and giving little tips here and there so it's been really nice."

  The Wheat Kings are 13-6-4-0 in 23 games since acquiring Pilon and are surging so far in the second half, going 7-3-1-0 in 11 games since the Christmas break.

  The surge has pushed Brandon into the hunt for top spot in the East Division and into the discussion for home-ice advantage in the first round of the WHL playoffs.

  "I haven't really had this feeling before," said Pilon, "Every game, two points are mandatory so it's coming to the rink and working hard to get those two points every night."

  The Wheat Kings will visit the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday night (6:30 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

  They enter the game tied with the Broncos for top spot in the East Division, with both teams one point ahead of Regina.

Chaff...Pilon and Pulock both enter Wednesday's game on four-game point streaks while F John Quenneville has points ni five straight games...D Eric Roy, who missed Saturday's game in Saskatoon because of illness, practiced fully with the Wheat Kings on both Monday and Tuesday...a win Wednesday would allow the Wheat Kings to match their point total (56) from all of last season.

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