Ryan Pulock and the Brandon Wheat Kings will try to pull off an upset against the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
Captain Ryan Pulock believes the last five games of the Western Hockey League season will reveal the Brandon Wheat Kings’ character.
With the Wheat Kings last in the Eastern Conference at 22-38-4-3, Pulock said there’s something to be said for a player willing to give his all even with the team out of the playoff picture. A first-round candidate for this year’s National Hockey League Entry Draft, Pulock wants scouts to see that trait in him, but he added it goes deeper than that.
"(The draft is) a big thing for me and there’s a few other guys that have that, but other guys that it may not be their draft year, there’s still a lot to play for," said Pulock, ranked sixth among North American skaters for the draft by NHL Central Scouting. "These last few games are really gonna show a guy’s character and the type of person he is."
The Wheat Kings play four of their last five games at home, starting tonight when they face the defending WHL champion and Eastern Conference leading Edmonton Oil Kings. Edmonton has beaten Brandon in 10 straight games, including playoffs, going back to last season and there’s nothing Pulock would like more right now than to get one back.
"In this sport if you don’t want to win a game, then there’s really something wrong with you," said the 18-year-old defenceman, who leads the Wheat Kings in scoring with 44 points, including 14 goals, in 56 games. "And that’s how a lot of guys that are in here right now (feel). They want to win and that’s what we’re going to try to do."
To be sure, being able to upset the Oil Kings would be a feather in the cap for the Wheat Kings and perhaps one of the highlights of the season for a club that has yet to beat any of the league’s top five teams. To have a chance, however, a team that has been guilty of some inconsistent efforts will have to be at its best tonight.
"Every time we play, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing against, we want to give ourselves a chance," Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said. "It’s a new challenge for us on Friday night when we play against them. They’re a very good team. They’ve established themselves as one of the elite teams in our (conference) and in the league so … we’re going to have to be ready to play. "
ONE-TIMERS: LW Jesse Gabrielle’s transfer from USA Hockey came through on Thursday and the 15-year-old joined the Wheat Kings late in their practice … Brandon C/LW John Quenneville will miss the rest of the season with a lower-body injury …Wheat Kings prospect Jordan Papirny made 62 saves Wednesday as his SSAC Athletics shut out the Sherwood Park Kings 1-0 in a five-overtime Alberta midget playoff game.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 8, 2013