Long playoff run suits Broda fine

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

Joel Broda is in uncharted territory.

The WHL's top sniper is usually at home at this time of the year on a spring vacation that started too soon.

This is Broda's fourth post-season appearance, but it's the first time the Calgary Hitmen forward has been past the opening round.

"It's a huge thrill after never being out of the first round," said Broda, whose previous playoff experience resulted in three early exits -- two with the Tri-City Americans and once with the Moose Jaw Warriors.

"Now, to be in the Eastern Conference final, it's quite a jump. I'm enjoying every minute of it because you can't take it for granted. This doesn't happen very often."

Broda, a 53-goal man during the regular season, has undoubtedly heard about how the playoffs are a marathon.

Long games, lengthy bus trips, little rest. He has to be wondering if he was lied to.

"We've had a lot of rest here," Broda said of his club, which has recorded back-to-back series sweeps over the Edmonton Oil Kings and Lethbridge Hurricanes.

"I think we've played eight games in 25 days. That's a lot less than what we play during the regular season. We've been taking advantage of it and getting our rest ... But (the Brandon Wheat Kings) are in the same boat over there. They're just as rested, so it should be a high-intensity series."

The Wheat Kings have also steamrolled their way through the first two rounds, sweeping the Kootenay Ice and Medicine Hat Tigers.

Broda, who is tied with winger Brandon Kozun for the team playoff scoring lead with six goals and a dozen points, will be a key player against the high-powered Wheat Kings.

"There's always pressure to bear down," he said.

"But the way it's been all year is that if your line's not going, there's plenty of other guys to get it done."

Depth clearly has been the Hitmen's biggest asset.

When teams struggle on the powerplay in the post-season, it usually means they're going home. The Hitmen powerplay -- ranked No. 1 during the regular season (30.2%) -- has cooled off in the playoffs (23.3%), yet they haven't dropped a game.


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