Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Wait Nearly Over for Hawryluk, Wheat Kings

Jayce Hawryluk
  The wait is nearly over for the Brandon Wheat Kings and their fans as the club will open their second round playoff series against the Regina Pats on Friday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  It's been a long wait for both teams after each concluded their first round series lsat Wednesday, but the break is also (presumably) helping both teams get over whatever bumps and bruises they may have gotten in the first round.

  An eight-day break might normally lead to some rust when they return to the ice but Wheat Kings' forward Jayce Hawryluk doesn't believe that'll be the case.

  "They have to wait just as long as we do to play the next round," said Hawryluk on Wednesday, "We practice hard, we've been working hard and we're ready.  I think, if anything, it amps it up a little bit more because we're anxious to get it going and that just excites the guys a little bit more."

  Hawryluk had a fairly productive opening round against Edmonton, scoring three goals and six points in Brandon's five-game victory.

  The Roblin, Manitoba product now has eight goals and 18 points in 13 career WHL playoff games.

  "I think just the intensity in playoffs.  The intensity is very high and every guy is battling as hard as they can.  I think I have that fire in me and that tenacity to work hard every time I'm out there," said Hawryluk when asked why he feels he has the success he does in the post-season, "It you're not physical in playoffs, you're going to get shutout of going any chances offensively.  I think you have to be an all-around player."

  Hawryluk played in just three of Brandon's eight regular season games with the Pats this year but with the clubs having met 24 times (pre-season, regular season and playoffs) since the start of the 2013-2014 season, the Florida Panthers' second round pick knows it'll be a great rivalry series.

  "It's a big rivalry and it's definitely grown over the past couple of seasons that I've been here," said Hawryluk, "You never want to lose to those guys and I'm sure they think the same way.  It's always a good game and very intense."

  Fans could get a chance to see the Wheat Kings/Pats rivalry a little more often under the WHL's new Division-based playoff format.

  While the clubs are meeting for the second straight season, they teams hadn't played in the playoffs since 2003 prior to last year's first round series.
Chaff...former Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Pulock was named to the American Hockey League's all-rookie all-star team Wednesday.  Pulock has 17 goals, including 13 on the power-play, and 26 points in 48 games with Bridgeport this season...Morgan Klimchuk, who missed the last two games of Brandon's first round series against Edmonton, and Nolan Patrick have yet to practice with the Wheat Kings' this week...Klimchuk's former Pats' teammate Kyle Burroughs signed an entry-level contract with the New York Islanders on of 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, just over 3,300 tickets had been sold for Friday's Game #1...all three of the WHL's other second playoff series also begin Friday with Calgary visiting Medicine Hat, Victoria at Kelowna and Everett hosting Portland.

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