SUN Hockey Pool

Canucks firing on all cylinders

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

It took 'em awhile to heat up.

But the Calgary Canucks are starting to hit their stride.

After coming away with just three wins in their first 13 contests, the Canucks pieced together a modest two-game winning streak earlier in the week, including a 7-0 whitewashing of the crosstown rival Royals.

Linemates Bennett Royer and Kyle Burton, who play on the same line with Ben Farrer, have been filling the net of late, says GM/head coach Don Phelps.

"Right now, they're the mainstay of our offence," Phelps says of the dynamic duo.

"They are returning players and, with the new rules, there has been so much powerplay action.

"I've done something that I normally don't do by having one structured powerplay. And those two guys are on it."

Royer (10 goals and 26 points) and Burton (13 goals and 25 points) have taken advantage of their opportunities. Prior to last night, they sat fifth and sixth respectively in league scoring.

"In seasons past, I'd like to roll four lines and get everybody involved," says Phelps, whose club visits the defending AJHL champion Fort McMurray Oil Barons tonight and are at Fort Saskatchewan tomorrow.

"But you can't do that now. There are so many situations where you're either killing a penalty or on the man advantage."

Phelps says there are differences in how Royer, 19, and Burton, 20, approach the game.

"Bennett has the gifted offensive skills and Kyle is a very good all-around player.

"Royer is the goal scorer and Burton gets his because he works so hard."

Royer has already nailed down a scholarship to Michigan Tech next season while his linemate is starting to gain interest from schools south of the border.

The dynamic duo have played with the Canucks for a few seasons but rarely were on the ice together.

They're beginning to develop chemistry now, Royer says.

"Last year, we were usually on different lines," Royer says.

"But we've been practicing alot together this year and it's working out."

Phelps says it'll take more than two players to sustain the club's winning ways.

"We need everybody else going," Phelps says. "We've got some other guys who, when they have good games, we're in the hunt.

"You can't win many games with one line."

PLENTY OF ICE TIME:

Brock Michalsky is in the Canmore Eagles record book.

The veteran defenceman became the franchise's all-time leader in games played when he suited up for his 251st regular-season tilt Tuesday night.

"It's special to me," said the 20-year-old, who is in his fifth season with the Eagles. "It's special to be part of a team for so long.

"It definitely is a milestone in my life, coming here and growing up."

Michalsky surpassed the previous franchise record, held by league all-time scoring leader Mark Bomersback, who made 250 appearances.

"I looked up to him when I was a young kid," Michalsky says. "It would be nice to get his points record too, but that's not going to happen."


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