|Ryan Pulock has 17 points in his last 14 games.|
The Grandview product has three goals and ten assists for 13 points in the ten games he’s played this month, but his offensive numbers are only telling part of the story.
Pulock has been a steady influence on partner Ryan Pilon, and his leadership has helped the Wheat Kings move into contention for first-place in the WHL’s East Division.
“Going into the Christmas break, I don’t think I was playing the best hockey. Over Christmas, I forgot about it, re-focused and came back,” said Pulock on Thursday, “I’m happy about my game. I feel good, I’m just looking forward to winning games down the stretch and then making a good playoff push.”
Pulock’s impressive month gives the New York Islanders’ 2013 first round pick 44 points in 44 games, one of only six defencemen in the Western Hockey League averaging a point per game or more.
The 19-year old is tied for sixth in scoring among blueliners, tied for second in goals (16) and leads all defencemen in power-play goals with ten.
“Overall, I’m playing better – even in the defensive zone, which is leading for me to jump up and create more offence” said Pulock, “I think it’s kind of a complete area of my game where I’m playing better, and it’s giving me the opportunity to help out more offensively.”
Pulock’s partner Ryan Pilon has three goals and eight points in 11 games this month, meaning the duo have combined for 21 points in January.
Now, the focus for Pulock, Pilon and the rest of the Wheat Kings is to come up with a few more victories on the road.
Brandon is 2-3-2-1 in eight road games in the second half, with six of their eight games decided by two goals or less.
It isn’t that the Wheat Kings have been poor on the road since the Christmas break, but moral victories like Wednesday’s shootout loss in Red Deer needs to turn into the kind that generate two points in the standings a little more often.
“We’re doing a lot of good things but they are little stretches in our game where we’re just not sharp enough, and it seems to have cost us a few games” said Pulock, “Whether it be a full period or just a five-minute span, we have to clean those areas up and, I think if we do that, we’ll have a lot better chance to win.”
The Wheat Kings will continue their current road trip Friday night when they visit the Calgary Hitmen (7:30 p.m., 880 CKLQ).
Brandon will be without Rihards Bukarts for Friday’s game after the import forward was suspended for one game by the WHL for the kneeing major he was assessed in Wednesday’s game in Red Deer.
Chaff…Pulock takes a seven-game point streak into Friday’s contest while Peter Quenneville has points in six consecutive games…Bukarts and Quenneville are tied for third in rookie scoring in the WHL behind Saskatoon’s Nikita Scherbak and Swift Current’s Julius Honka…Brandon is 6-3-1-1 in 11 games so far this month, outscoring their opponents 43-38.