Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Sports
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Bukarts a fine fit with overager duo

From left to right, forwards Jens Meilleur, Rihards Bukarts and Chad Robinson have formed a productive line for the Brandon Wheat Kings.

TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

From left to right, forwards Jens Meilleur, Rihards Bukarts and Chad Robinson have formed a productive line for the Brandon Wheat Kings.

At first glance, Rihards Bukarts may seem like on odd fit to play alongside Brandon Wheat Kings veterans Chad Robinson and Jens Meilleur.

Rihards Bukarts

Enlarge Image

Rihards Bukarts (FILE PHOTO)

Chad Robinson

Enlarge Image

Chad Robinson (FILE PHOTO)

Jens Meilleur

Enlarge Image

Jens Meilleur (FILE PHOTO)

Meilleur and Robinson are 20-year-old grinders who do their best work inside of their own blue-line; their Latvian linemate is a first-year Western Hockey Leaguer who has been known to make some, shall we say, suspect decisions on his own zone. Still, the mix is working. They’ve combined to form a trio that can defend against other teams’ top forwards, freeing up Brandon’s top-six forwards to take advantage of favourable matchups, and they can put the puck in the net themselves on occasion as well.

"They can play anywhere," Wheat Kings head coach/ general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. "They have been matched up against top lines lots of nights; they’ve been able to handle that responsibility. I think the versatility we have with that line gives us some flexibility, what we do with our other matchups on any given night."

The play of the line has helped the Wheat Kings go 10-3-2-0 in their past 15 games, with the team taking a three-game winning streak into tonight’s battle for first place in the East Division against the Broncos in Swift Current, Sask. (6:30, CKLQ).

"It’s nice knowing that Kelly’s comfortable putting us in various situations during the game," said Robinson, a Minnedosa native who has six goals and 16 assists in 46 games this season. "We don’t play in the same situation every night. It’s different every night, but I think we adapt pretty well to whatever we’re thrown."

McCrimmon said Bukarts has played his best hockey since joining the overagers on a unit, and the numbers bear that out. Bukarts has scored 11 goals in his past 18 games, including a pair in Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Saskatoon Blades, and he’s moved into fourth place among rookie scorers in the WHL going into Tuesday’s games, with 17 goals and 17 assists in 46 contests.

"We kind of complement each other out there," said Meilleur, who has seven goals and 12 assists in 46 games this season and is third among Brandon forwards with a plus/minus of +10. "I think me and Robo hold the fort down in our own end, and when we get to the O-zone, Bukie really helps us get creative out there and it seems to be working out."

It seems that the traits they each have are rubbing off on each other.

"I’m playing with two really good, hard-working guys," said Bukarts, 18. "I’m not the hardest worker, but I’m trying to be. They help me out and I think I have some skills and we can make the good plays in the D-zone. I think we’re a pretty good line, but I think we should get more points and we think we can do this."

ONE-TIMERS: D Ryan Pulock (sick) missed Tuesday’s practice, which was moved to the Sportsplex due to Ag Days, but could be back in the lineup for tonight’s game … Ex-Wheat Kings C Shayne Wiebe has signed a two-year contract extension with EHC Olten of the Swiss National League B. Wiebe is fifth in league scoring with 21 goals and 28 assists for Olten, which sits in first place and is trying to earn a promotion to League A for next season … Former Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk told CKLQ’s Monday Sports Talk that he has been scouting for Hockey Canada’s national under-18 women’s program and will head to Hungary with the team for the world championship in March.

» rhenders@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 22, 2014

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article is currently rated an average of 4 out of 5 (1 votes).
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

At first glance, Rihards Bukarts may seem like on odd fit to play alongside Brandon Wheat Kings veterans Chad Robinson and Jens Meilleur.

Meilleur and Robinson are 20-year-old grinders who do their best work inside of their own blue-line; their Latvian linemate is a first-year Western Hockey Leaguer who has been known to make some, shall we say, suspect decisions on his own zone. Still, the mix is working. They’ve combined to form a trio that can defend against other teams’ top forwards, freeing up Brandon’s top-six forwards to take advantage of favourable matchups, and they can put the puck in the net themselves on occasion as well.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

At first glance, Rihards Bukarts may seem like on odd fit to play alongside Brandon Wheat Kings veterans Chad Robinson and Jens Meilleur.

Meilleur and Robinson are 20-year-old grinders who do their best work inside of their own blue-line; their Latvian linemate is a first-year Western Hockey Leaguer who has been known to make some, shall we say, suspect decisions on his own zone. Still, the mix is working. They’ve combined to form a trio that can defend against other teams’ top forwards, freeing up Brandon’s top-six forwards to take advantage of favourable matchups, and they can put the puck in the net themselves on occasion as well.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100

Social Media