Thursday, 10 April 2014

Pilon Coming into Own

Ryan Pilon (right) and Ryan Pulock have formed
a formidible duo as Brandon's top
defence pair in the second half.
  Maybe it’s necessity, maybe it’s a coming of age and maybe it’s a combination of both, but Ryan Pilon has certainly upped his physically in the Brandon Wheat Kings’ second round series with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
  Pilon has spent much of the Eastern Conference semifinal matched up against Edmonton’s line of Mitch Moroz, Henrik Samuelsson and Reid Petryk, a threesome that averages 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds.
  “When you’re taking on the role of playing everybody’s top lines, you have to increase that level of intensity,” said Pilon after Brandon’s workout in Edmonton Thursday, “You have to play the body on them, and make it hard for them to play.”
  Pilon, who goes 6-foot-2, 212 pounds himself, has had a solid 2014 post-season for the Wheat Kings, scoring one goal and four points in eight games while recording a +2 rating.
  The product of Duck Lake, Saskatchewan has come into his own during the second half of the WHL season after being acquired from Lethbridge in mid-November and, particularly, after being paired with Wheat Kings’ captain Ryan Pulock beginning about a month after he first arrived in Brandon.
  Now, Pilon is continuing his growth by playing in the WHL playoffs for the first time.
  “It’s definitely a learning year for me for playoffs but everybody has to increase their level of intensity that much higher.  Playing the second half, you definitely get comfortable in playing the minutes I have been,” said Pilon, who isn’t eligible for the NHL Draft until 2015, “Crim (Wheat Kings’ HC Kelly McCrimmon) been really looking forward for pushing me, so you really need to take on that role.”
The Wheat Kings practiced in
Edmonton on Thursday
  The Wheat Kings will visit Edmonton on Friday night in Game Five of their Eastern Conference semifinal, looking for a second straight win to extend the series further.
  Brandon took Game Four on home-ice Wednesday by a 5-2 score, a victory that should give the Wheat Kings a little more confidence moving forward.
  “We got some goals against Jarry, we started playing our game and just confidence knowing we can beat them now going into this Game Five,” said Pilon “It should be good.”
  The Wheat Kings will have to get over the Rexall Place Hex in order to extend the Eastern Conference semifinal further.
  Brandon has lost 12 straight games in Edmonton, last recording a victory on December 31, 2009.
Chaff...Ryley Lindgren, who missed Game Four, was on the ice for the first part of practice Thursday before departing...Curtis Honey (finger) was the only other Wheat King not to participate in Thursday’s session...Brandon goaltender Jordan Papirny was celebrating his 18th birthday on Thursday.

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