Boyd needs win

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

If all goes as expected, Dustin Boyd will win more games in the next two nights than he has all season.

Part of the WHL selects squad that meets the touring Russian team tonight in Red Deer and tomorrow in Lethbridge, the Calgary Flames prospect has a golden opportunity to regain that winning feeling.

You see, Boyd is almost halfway through a season during which he and the Moose Jaw Warriors have one victory.

That's not a typo: One victory in 28 games.

It goes with 21 losses, another in overtime and five ties.

Seems only the hosts end up buried inside the Crushed Can, also known as the Moose Jaw Civic Centre.

"It's been pretty frustrating," the Warriors captain said. "It is what it is.

"It seems we score first almost every game but they come back and score a few. We just never seem to get back on track."

For Boyd, the 6-ft. 180-lb. centre selected 98th overall by Calgary in the 2004 draft, these clashes are a welcome respite from what's been a disastrous season.

Personally, it's not all bad. He's atop the Warriors scoring race with 24 points in a 26 games (8-16-24). He's considered a top player in the loop and has a chance to play for his country at the world juniors.

And now he gets a chance to face the Russian bear for the first time. In fact, it's his first crack at any form of an international game.

"I watched the first games on TV and everyone gets more excited about playing the Russians," he said. "It'll be my first time and it'll be pretty fun."

Still, everything comes back to the wins ... or lack thereof.

He's hoping for a jolt from playing with the best players in the WHL.

"It's going to be a good confidence booster just playing with those guys and hopefully I can bring that back here," he said "I'm really excited. There's a lot of quality players."

"It's going to be a good experience."

Quite possibly an experience that can help vault him to Grand Forks over the holiday season.

The Winnipegger wasn't on the original invitee list for Canada's summer evaluation camp but when Hitmen forward Andrew Ladd was felled by a shoulder injury, he received the call.

Between making the most of that chance, a breakout season in the WHL and a strong showing in these two games, he's hoping to give Canadian team head scout Blair Mackasey and head coach Brent Sutter enough evidence to prove he's worthy of at least a look at the main camp in Winnipeg Dec. 12-16.

And from there, possibly earn a spot with the squad that will look to win Canada's first gold since 1997.

"The big thing will be to play my game and try to turn heads," he said. "Last year, I really worked on my defensive play and being physical. It's helping me be more of a complete player this year."

ICE CHIPS: Four Hitmen players are expected to dress for Canada: Forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Andrew Ladd and defencemen Brett Carson and Jeff Schultz. They are returning to Alberta this morning after playing last night in Vancouver ... Flames top prospect Dion Phaneuf (Red Deer) has been named captain of the WHL selects squad. Getzlaf will be one of four players to serve as alternate captains. The others will be Braydon Coburn (Portland), Jeremy Colliton (Prince Albert) of Blackie, Alta., and Brent Seabrook (Lethbridge).


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