Jayce Hawryluk of the Brandon Wheat Kings is pushed to the ice by Derek Ryckman of the Medicine Hat Tigers during the first period of WHL action at Westman Place on Saturday evening. The Tigers won the game 4-2. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
After missing the end of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Jayce Hawryluk wasn’t about to sit out his first game back with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The 16-year-old rookie made the long haul from Quebec to Brandon on Saturday, arriving just in time to suit up for the Wheat Kings in their 4-2 loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers at Westman Place.
Hawryluk’s marathon day started out with a 6:30 a.m. wakeup call and he was at the Montreal airport by 9:30 a.m. to see some of his Team West teammates off even though his plane didn’t leave until 2 p.m.
Landing in Winnipeg at 4:30 p.m., he got to Brandon at about 7 p.m., missing the pre-game warmup but getting into uniform in time for the start of the game.
"I just wanted to be here for the boys tonight," Hawryluk said. "I wanted to do what I could do out there to help them out. It’s pretty important for me. I didn’t want to let them down."
It was important enough for Hawryluk that he gutted out the game on a sprained ankle that still wasn’t 100 per cent after sidelining him for the last two games of the U-17 Challenge as Team West finished in ninth place.
"It’s obviously not (fully healthy) right now, but I thought I’d try it out," he said. "It was all right out there, I guess."
Hawryluk skated a regular shift and although he didn’t hit the scoresheet, he created some chances, hitting the post on a partial break in the second period after stealing the puck at the Brandon blue-line.
His efforts were appreciated by Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk.
"Jayce is a big part of our team and we’re happy to have him back," Gylywoychuk said. "He had a long day of travel and all that kind of stuff, so give him credit for what he was able to do tonight."
Despite Hawryluk’s efforts, the Wheat Kings faded in the third period when Curtis Valk and Hunter Shinkaruk both netted their 23rd goals of the season to lift the Tigers to victory. Valk netted the winning goal 41 seconds into the period and added two assists. Shinkaruk and defenceman Dylan Bredo each had a goal and an assist, while Jacob Doty also scored for the Tigers (18-20-2-1).
Tim McGauley opened the scoring in the first period for Brandon, while Jason Swyripa gave the Wheat Kings a 2-1 edge in the second frame before the Tigers battled back.
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon G Corbin Boes stopped 31 shots, while G Cam Lanigan made 20 saves for Medicine Hat …The Tigers were 1-for-3 on the power play, while Brandon was 0-for-4 … Attendance was 4,171 … D Rene Hunter returned to Brandon’s lineup after missing more than a month on personal leave.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 7, 2013