Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Impressing Flames' Secondary for Wheat Kings' D

Eric Roy
  The Wheat Kings' third round playoff opponent couldn't be a better fit for fifth-year Brandon defenceman Eric Roy.

  Roy was a fifth round pick of the Flames in the 2013 NHL Draft and needs to be signed by June 1st or he'll be eligible to re-enter the draft.

  The Beauval, Saskatchewan product says having a chance to impress the Flames' brass by playing at the Saddlesome is secondary to what's at stake for the Wheat Kings.

  "It's going to be a huge series coming up against Calgary, and it's especially going to be nice to be playing in that barn in front of the Flames' brass but I'm trying not to think about that, I'm thinking about this team," said Roy after practice on Tuesday, "We have a chance here to go to the finals and battle every night with this team and I just have to keep working."

  Roy has been a rock on the Wheat Kings' blueline in the second half of the season, scoring 32 points and registering a +26 rating in 37 games after the Christmas break while also adding seven points and a +5 rating in ten playoff games so far this spring.

  "I think I was thinking about my contract too much in the first half.  In the second half I just relaxed and played my game and enjoyed my last year here in Brandon.  It's a real special for me to finish the year here in Brandon," said Roy, "The one thing I have to do is just get better every day.  I give credit to my teammates, they've been there along the way and have helped me to this point."

  Roy isn't the only Flames' draft pick on the Wheat Kings but 2013 first rounder Morgan Klimchuk signed his entry-level contract with Calgary back in December of 2013.

  Roy is part of a strong Brandon defence core that has been magnificent so far in the post-season.

  The Wheat Kings led the WHL in goals during the regular season, averging 4.7 per game, but it's their defence that has been a bigger key so far in the playoffs, allowing just 21 goals in 10 playoff games.

  "It's one thing we really thrive on is to try and keep it to two goals or less.  That one things (Kelly McCrimmon) has been telling us each day is just to keep it to two goals or less," said Roy, "As a defence core, we take a lot of pride in that.  There's been a lot of one-goal games in the playoffs and you aren't going to score many goals in the playoffs, it's hard to score goals in the post-season."

  Ironically, Brandon's next playoff opponent has been the most efficient offensively in the post-season.

  The Calgary Hitmen are averaging just over four goals per game so far in the playoffs.

Chaff...F Ty Lewis, who finished the season with the Brandon AAA Midget Wheat Kings have spending the first half of the year on Brandon's injury list, practiced with the Wheat Kings on Tuesday...there were no other changes in Brandon's practice participants, with F Jayce Hawryluk and F Reid Duke both sitting out...the Prince Albert Raiders announced Tuesday that they've re-signed Marc Habscheid to a four-year contract...Canada closed out their round-robin at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship Tuesday with a 3-2 win over Finland to finish with a 4-and-0 record.

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