Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Players of the Week


CALGARY, AB. - The BOSTON PIZZA WHL Player of the Week is forward Brandon Kozun of the Calgary Hitmen.

Kozun picked up nine points, scoring three goals and six assists to go with a +4 rating in four games over the past two weeks, which included the WHL’s nine day holiday break, helping the Hitmen post a 4-0-0-0 road record in that span.

On Tuesday, December 16th, the Hitmen travelled to Saskatoon to face the Blades at the Credit Union Centre. Kozun picked up the game-winning-goal and an assist as the Hitmen defeated the Blades 6-4. The next evening, Wednesday, December 17th, the last night of games prior to the WHL’s nine day holiday break, the Calgary Hitmen were in Prince Albert taking on the Raiders. Kozun netted one goal and added two assists as the Hitmen downed the Raiders 8-4. He was also named the games 2nd Star.

The Hitmen kicked off their second half of the WHL schedule on Saturday, December 27th in Red Deer facing off against the Rebels at the Enmax Centrium. Kozun scored his second game-winning-goal in three games and added another assist as his Hitmen went on to defeat the Rebels 4-2. He was also named the games 1st Star. The next day, Sunday, December 28th, the Hitmen hosted the Moose Jaw Warriors to a matinee match up at the Saddledome. Kozun assisted on two Hitmen goals in their 4-2 win over the Warriors.

Kozun’s nine points over the past four games has put him in top spot among all WHL scorers with 27 goals, 33 assists for a total of 60 points in 40 games thus far this season. With the four Hitmen victories they extend their winning streak to eight and remain in first place in the WHL Central Division, Eastern Conference and entire Western Hockey League.

Kozun, an 18-year-old from Calgary, Alberta is currently playing his second full season in the Western Hockey League and with the Calgary Hitmen. He has appeared in 120 regular season games with the Hitmen collecting 47 goals, 68 assists for a career total of 115 points.

The WHL has also nominated rookie Nathan Liewen of the Kootenay Ice for the ADT CHL Goaltender of the Week Award. Liewen posted a 2-0-0-1 record this past week with a shut-out, allowing just three goals on 68 shots for a 0.970 goals-against average and an outstanding .956 save percentage.

Liewen, a 17 year-old from Abbotsford, British Columbia, is playing his first season in the Western Hockey League. He spent last year in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Westside Warriors appearing in 13 games compiling a 1.95 GAA. Liewen currently sits in 13th spot among all WHL goaltenders with a 2.87 goals-against average and was recently named as one of 15 WHL players to participate in the 2009 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game this January in Oshawa, Ontario.

Boston Pizza WHL Player of the Week
Sept. 18 – Sept. 21: Jordan Weal, Regina Pats
Sept. 22 – Sept. 28: Joel Broda, Moose Jaw Warriors
Sept. 29 – Oct. 5: Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Vancouver Giants
Oct. 6 – Oct. 12: Evander Kane, Vancouver Giants
Oct. 13 – Oct. 19: Jay Fehr, Brandon Wheat Kings
Oct. 20 – Oct. 26: Jamie Benn, Kelowna Rockets
Oct. 27 – Nov. 2: Dana Tyrell, Prince George Cougars
Nov. 3 – Nov. 9: C.J. Stretch, Kamloops Blazers
Nov. 10 – Nov. 16: Andy Smith, Chilliwack Bruins
Nov. 17 – Nov. 23: Scott Glennie, Brandon Wheat Kings
Nov. 24 – Nov. 30: Taylor Procyshen, Tri-City Americans
Dec. 1 – Dec. 7: Brett Sonne, Calgary Hitmen
Dec. 8 – Dec. 14: Ian Duval, Moose Jaw Warriors
Dec. 15 – Dec. 28: Brandon Kozun, Calgary Hitmen


BOUCHERVILLE, Monday, December 29, 2008 – Halifax Mooseheads forward Jan Stransky and Shawinigan Cataractes goaltender Gabriel Girard today were named the TELUS offensive and defensive players of the week.

Stransky, who was acquired by the Mooseheads from the Olympiques via a trade this week-end, recorded three goals and two helpers in two contests. Stransky enjoyed his best game of the week yesterday, collecting an assist on the game-tying goal and registering the game-winner a few moments later in the final stages of the third period during a 6-5 victory over the Sea Dogs at Harbour Station. He had a total of four points in the win.

Joël Champagne (Rocket), Nicolas Deschamps (Saguenéens) and Chris Doyle (Rocket) were also considered.

On the defensive side, Gabriel Girard is the award winner. In two starts, the Cataractes netminder recorded two wins while posting a 1.92 goals-against-average and .951 save percentage. In the first-ever game played in the new rink in Shawinigan on Saturday, Girard made thirty save in a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Juniors. He was later named the game’s first star. The next day, he pushed away forty-eight shots and stumped two skaters in the shootout to help the Cataractes defeat the Voltigeurs in Drummondville 4-3.

Nicola Riopel (Wildcats), Dominic Jalbert (Saguenéens) and Maxime Robichaud (Tigres) were also strong candidates.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at fourniern@students.nescom.edu)

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