Brandon Wheat Kings captain Keith Aulie is a victim of his team's success.
If the Wheaties had been eliminated from the WHL playoffs, Aulie likely would have made his NHL debut with the Calgary Flames.
Instead, Aulie had to watch fellow defenceman John Negrin jump from the Swift Current Broncos to the big club when the Flames blueline was decimated by injuries.
"It's something that's completely out of my control," Aulie said. "I have no idea what would have happened.
"It was awesome to see John Negrin get an opportunity. That's pretty exciting for him.
"But I don't like to think about that. I like to keep (my mind) with my team and help our team any way possible."
He's been doing exactly that. The 6-foot-6, 222-lb. Aulie has a plus/minus of plus-17 in the post-season, second only to defence partner Colby Robak's plus-19.
Aulie and Kelowna Rockets rearguard Tyler Myers were Team Canada's top shutdown defensive pair at the world junior tournament.
He got to know Hitmen centre Brett Sonne at the tourney, but he'll likely see even more of the Eastern Conference Player of the Year during this series.
"I think that's an accurate statement," he said. "I think you can expect to see us going head-to-head quite a bit. It's going to be fun and it's going to be challenging.
"He's a real good guy and a great leader. You can tell by the year he's had, he's a real good player.
"But it's not just Brett Sonne. They've got a lot of firepower up front that we've got to key in."
Brandon's lone win against Calgary during the regular season was a wild 7-6 overtime victory at the Dome.
But Aulie said his club isn't looking to get into a shootout.
"I don't think we want it to be run-and-gun," he said.