Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Patrick Close to Select Company

Nolan Patrick
  Wheat Kings' centre Nolan Patrick is getting into some rare territory when it comes to rookies in the Western Hockey League.

  The Winnipeg product leads all first-year players with 25 goals and is second behind teammate Ivan Provorov in rookie scoring with 47 points.

  Patrick could become just the third 16-year old in the last 20 years to score 30 or more goals in his rookie season, and the 6-foot-2, 192 pounder says linemates Morgan Klimchuk and Peter Quenneville have been tremendous assets for him in recent weeks.

  "It's good look up and see them playing on your line.  They both have a lot of experience throughout their junior careers," said Patrick, "Morgan has a lot of experience in the WHL so he gives me tips throughout the game and stuff so it's great playing with him."

  Brett Connolly of the Prince George Cougars in 2008-2009 and Patrick Marleau of the Seattle Thunderbirds in 1995-96 are the only 16-year old to score 30 or more goals in their rookie WHL seasons in the last 20 years, and both of those players went on to become Top-6 picks in the NHL Draft.

  Joining that elite company would be a tremendous accomplish for the fourth overall pick in the 2013 Bantam Draft, but he says his main focus is on the team's goals for the rest of the season.

  "Finish off in first-place and keep winning.  I don't have any goals for myself, just hopefully the team keeps winning," said the 6-foot-3, 192 pound Patrick, "Things are going well right now and, hopefully, we can carry that on."

  Brandon (41-9-3-2) has a 14-point lead over second-place Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference standings but the Wheat Kings' reign atop the overall WHL standings lasted a little under 23 hours.

  Kelowna defeated Prince George 5-2 in one of four afternoon games on Monday's schedule, moving the Rockets back past Brandon in the race for the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy.

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