Thursday, 23 April 2015

Klimchuk Enjoying Uncharted Territory

Morgan Klimchuk
  Morgan Klimchuk is doing a lot of smiling these days.

  Klimchuk is into the third round of the WHL playoffs for the first time in his career; he and the Wheat Kings advanced at the expense of his former team, the Regina Pats, and he'll get a chance to play in his hometown in the Eastern Conference Final.

  "We're really excited about what we've done but I think we're doing so well because this is what we expected to do.  We expected to have some success in the post-season and we're not letting ourselves get too high because we're not satisfied yet," said Klimchuk on Wednesday, "We've set our sights on a league championship and this is another step along the way that we know is going to be real tough test for us and something that'll be a tough challenge that we're really looking forward to."

  Klimchuk was a first round pick of his hometown Calgary Flames in the 2013 NHL Draft and, like teammate Eric Roy, will get a chance to play in front of Flames' brass in this series.

  However, the major difference is Klimchuk signed an entry-level contract with Calgary in December of 2013.

  "I played many hockey games there and even this year and since I've been drafted," said Klimchuk, "My focus is going to be on our series and just contributing to getting a win for our team and not so much playing for them.  This is the longest push I've made in the playoffs and I'm looking to keep it rolling here and I'm going to be looking to play my best no matter where we're playing."

  After being acquired from Regina on January 2nd, he notched 20 goals and 50 points in 33 regular season games with Brandon and finished 19th in the league in scoring with 80 points overall.

  He's probably fit into the Wheat Kings' organization as well or better than any of Brandon's trade deadline acquisitions in recent memory.

  "Right from the moment I learned I was getting traded here, Kelly (McCrimmon) has been unbelievable with me and the whole coaching staff have welcomed me with open arms.  They didn't try to force too much on me, they kind of let me play my game and fit within the system," said Klimchuk, "Having such a good team that we do, wins hockey games and didn't lose a whole lot since I've got here has made it a lot easier."

  Klimchuk has two assists in four post-season games this spring, returning to Brandon's lineup for their Game #5 victory over Regina after missing six games with an injury.

  And it looks like Klimchuk will have plenty of help in players in returning to the Wheat Kings' lineup for the Eastern Conference Final.

  The latest is Jayce Hawryluk, who practiced with Brandon on Wednesday.

  Hawryluk missed the final three games of the Regina series after being injured in Game #2 on April 11th.

Chaff...the dates for the final three games of the Eastern Conference Final were set Wednesday, with Games #5 and #7 to be held on Brandon on May 1st and 5th respectively...the WHL finalized Regina D Connor Hobbs' suspension for the kneeing major he took against Brandon on April 15th at one game, which was served last Friday...Canada's U18 team will face Sweden in quarter-final action Thursday at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship (9 a.m. CDT).

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