Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Canada-Russia Rivalry Comes to Brandon

  Westman hockey fans will get a chance to see the Canada-Russia hockey rivalry up close.

  The Wheat Kings and the Keystone Centre will be hosting game two of the CHL's Subway Super Series on Tuesday, November 11th at Westman Communications Group Place.

  The contest between Team WHL and the Russian Selects will help determine invitations to the tryout camp for the Canadian team for the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship.

  “It is an honor for our organization to host this game. This series has taken on tremendous importance for the selection of the World Junior roster,” said Wheat Kings general manager and coach Kelly McCrimmon in a release, “As well, it’s an opportunity for our fans and our city to once again be on the national stage.”

  Brandon was a host during the inaugural year of the Canada-Russia Challenge in 2003, with current NHL stars Ryan Getzlaf, Dion Phaneuf and Brent Seabrook among the players on Team WHL in that 7-1 victory.

  The 2014 edition of the Super Series will see a change in format, with the opening two games being hosted in the West for the first time.

  Game One of the Subway Super Series will be in Saskatoon on November 10th, with the second game in Brandon the following night.

  Details on ticket prices and on sale dates for Brandon will be announced in the near future.

  However, Wheat Kings Season Ticket holders will have first option to purchase their seats for this game, which will be the first nationally televised game to be played in Brandon since the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

Canada Falls to Russia at U18's

Wheat Kings' F John Quenneville in action earlier
in the tournament vs. Sweden
(Photo Credit: Jana Chytilova / HHOF-IIHF Images)
  Canada was denied a perfect prelimiary round Tuesday at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship, dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to Russia.

  Despite the loss, Canada still finishes in first-place in Group A with a 3-0-0-1 record and will be the top seed heading into Thursday's quarter-finals.

  Elkhorn product Travis Sanheim assisted on both of Canada's goals Tuesday, his first two points of the tournament.

  Wheat Kings' Jayce Gawryluk, John Quenneville and Ryan Pilon were held off the scoresheet Tuesday.

  Hawryluk had one assist in three games while Quenneville and Pilon are pointless in four games apiece.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Canada is 3-and-0 at World U18 Championship

John Quenneville
  So far, so good for Canada at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Finland.

  Canada improved to 3-and-0 Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Slovakia, with Brendan Perlini's second goal of the game with 6:37 left being the difference.

  Sunday's victory followed a 3-1 win over Sweden Thursday and a 5-2 victory over Germany Saturday and has Canada on the cusp of clinching top spot in Pool B heading into their final round-robin game against Russia on Tuesday.

  "We've played three good games and we have a really good team here," said Wheat Kings' centre John Quenneville in a phone interview from Finland, "If we play the way we have, we're going to continue to win games."

  Quenneville is pointless in three games at the tournament, and is playing on a line with Brandon teammate Jayce Hawryluk and Daniel Audette from Sherbrooke (QMJHL).

  He says there are more of an energy line, while he and Hawryluk are also teaming up to kill penalties for Canada.

  Quenneville adds there's been an adjustment for him, going from a North American size rink to the wider ice surface used internationally.

  "It's definitely an adjustment.  It's a little weird for me, coming straight from WHL playoffs and coming out on the ice in games," said Quenneville, who is pointless at the tournament so far, "It's different, there's more space for games, but it just means you have to skate faster."

  Wheat Kings' defenceman Ryan Pilon is also with the Canadian team, while Elkhorn product Travis Sanheim is one of his fellow blueliners on the squad.

  Sanheim and parterned with his Calgary Hitmen teammate Ben Thomas, his regular partner when playing in the WHL this season.

  "It's really nice to be able to have chemistry right from the get-go.  Being able to bring Ben over and having him to play alongside me," said Sanheim on Monday, "It makes it a lot easier and even the coaching staff, it makes it a lot easier to have guys that already have chemistry together and not have to build that from the get-go."

Travis Sanheim celebrates a goal with his Canadian
teammates in Sunday's win over Slovakia.
  A year ago at this time, Sanheim wasn't even 100 per cent sure he'd be playing in the Western Hockey League.

  Now the 18-year old is representing his country and is likely to be at least a mid-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

  "After playing midget last year and then making the jump to the Western Hockey League this year, I probably wouldn't have thought that I'd have the year that I did," said Sanheim, "Been able to play at the Under-18's and have a chance to get drafted this year."

  Sanheim was ranked 53rd among North American skaters in the final rankings by the NHL Central Scouting Service.

Chaff...Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Pulock recorded his first career professional point, an assist on a power-play goal, in Bridgeport's 3-2 overtime victory in Adirondack on Friday.  Pulock finished with one assist, -1 and 2 PIM in three games with the Sound Tigers, who missed the AHL playoffs.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Canada Opens U18 with Win

  Canada opened the World Under-18 Hockey Championship with a 3-1 victory over Sweden on Thursday.

  Jake Virtanen of the WHL's Calgary Hitmen scored twice while Matt Barzal of the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds had the other goal for Canada.

  The Canadian team includes the Wheat Kings' trio of John Quenneville, Jayce Hawryluk and Ryan Pilon along with Elkhorn's Travis Sanheim of the Hitmen.

  Hawryluk did not play for Canada after arriving in Finland on Wednesday, but did skate Thursday and is expected to play Saturday as he continues to come back from the upper body injury that caused him to miss Game Five of the Wheat Kings second round series against the Edmonton Oil Kings.  

  Canada's next game is Saturday against Germany (8 a.m. CDT).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hawryluk, Pilon Join Team Canada

Jayce Hawryluk (left) and Ryan Pilon are both joining Canada
for the World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Finland
  There will now be three members of the Brandon Wheat Kings playing for Canada at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship.

  Forward Jayce Hawryluk and defenceman Ryan Pilon have both been added to the squad by Hockey Canada, joining teammate John Quenneville with the team.

  Hawryluk's availability was up in the air after he missed Brandon's final playoff game due to an upper body injury.

  The duo flew to Finland today, with Canada opening the round-robin portion of the championship tomorrow against Sweden.

  Hawryluk and Pilon were both members of the Canadian team that won the Gold Medal at the prestigious Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in the Czech Republic last summer.