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Thursday, 18 April 2013 11:26

Broncos’ prospect look for Telus Cup win

Written by  Brad Brown
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The last time Wyatt Sloboshan represented Saskatchewan on a hockey rink he came home with a half-torn knee ligament and his leg in a brace.


This time out he’s got his eye on another piece of shiny metal — the Telus Cup.
Sloboshan and the Saskatoon Contacts will represent Saskatchewan at the national midget AAA hockey championship, which begins Monday in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., after winning the Western Regional final earlier this month.
“I’m real excited. We’ve been working hard for this all year,” said the 16-year-old Swift Current Broncos draft pick. “At the start of the year we had the goal to get there and now we are there with a great team.”
Second in the standings at the end of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League regular season, the Contacts swept Battlefords and Regina before beating the Prince Albert Mintos on the road in Game 5 of the championship series to advance to the Western Regionals.
There they dropped their opener to Thunder Bay before rattling off three straight wins, including a 3-0 shutout in the rematch for the regional title April 7.
One of the teams they beat along the way was the Winnipeg Wild and fellow Broncos draft pick Jackson Keane.
“It was a full team effort but our goalie, Rylan Parenteau, he stood on his head throughout the playoffs and I don’t know if we’d be where we are without him,” said Sloboshan, picked by the Broncos in the third round of the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
Prior to their eye-opener against Thunder Bay the Contacts had lost only two of their last 23 games, including an 18-game unbeaten streak heading into the SMAAAHL final.
“One of the best things that happened to the boys was when we lost the first game,” said Contacts coach Marc Chartier. “We took them a little bit too easy which was a good thing. It was a good lesson for the boys and after that we started shutting teams down.”
Sloboshan knows all about being shut down. He watched from the stands for all of November and half of December after suffering a 50 per cent tear of his MCL during Saskatchewan’s second game of the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup.
At first he tried to play through the injury but realized it was serious and had the injury diagnosed when he returned to Saskatoon.
He says it was his first major sports injury. Not the kind of milestone he wanted to remember his first season of midget AAA for, at any rate.
“It was really hard to sit out and watch,” he said. “I just wanted to get out and play. There’s not much I could do. I couldn’t work out, I couldn’t move for awhile so I just worked on my stickhandling as much as I could … until I got the brace off.”
When Sloboshan returned he put up six goals and 17 assists in Saskatoon’s final 20 games to finish fifth on the team in scoring.
“He’s the kind of kid who’s coming to play every night,” said Chartier. “I’m not saying he’s the most skilled guy on our team but he’s in a position right now where he’s playing with a line of all 15-year-olds and he created some opportunities at regionals as well.
“He’s a kid who’s got great work ethic and he does that for 60 minutes a game. He really grinds things out.”
This year’s Telus Cup will be the second straight for Chartier and seven of his players, who helped the Contacts to a bronze medal in 2012.
Saskatoon’s opponents this year will include Ottawa, Red Deer, Sault Ste. Marie, Laval and the Valley (New Brunswick) Wildcats.
The gold and bronze medal games will be played April 28.

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