Bronco invasion works for Leafs

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

At the beginning of the Maple Leafs season, the Swift Current Broncos connection on the team was, well, a little disconnected.

But now, two players who once played for the Saskatchewan-based WHL club are playing with the Leafs and the hope is the third will join the team before the end of the season.

With the promotion of winger Jeremy Williams on Monday, there now are two ex-Broncos on the big squad. Williams, who scored on Tuesday against the New York Islanders in his first game with the Leafs this year, joins ex-Swift Current mate Ian White. The third ex-Bronco, Ben Ondrus, still is down in the AHL captaining the Marlies, but has played 41 games for the Leafs in the past.

Williams said yesterday that it would be a blast if all three eventually made it to the Leafs this season. That would be a big accomplishment considering that he and Ondrus started the season with the Marlies and White was a healthy scratch for the first 11 Leafs games and appeared to be one handshake away from being traded.

"That has made the transition (to the Leafs) really easy, being able to be with close friends," Williams said yesterday, following the Leafs practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena.

Williams was put on a speed line with Jason Blake and Dominic Moore in Monday's 4-2 win over the Islanders and responded with a goal and an assist -- the fourth consecutive time he has scored in his first game after being recalled by the Leafs. Blake had a goal and two assists. Williams wants to stay with the club, even after injured forward Niklas Hagman, who suffered a concussion on Saturday against Washington, returns to the team, probably next week.

"That's all you can do is take it one day at a time. I could be sent down tomorrow, I could be sent down in two hours, you never know. You have to kind of seize the moment and do everything you can to get them to notice you and for them to think that you deserve to be there," Williams said of his promotion, adding that there does seem to be a connection with Blake and Moore.

BUILT FOR SPEED

"Whenever you're on a line that's fast, you're going to succeed. And playing with Moorsy and Blake, I don't think there's two faster guys in the NHL. It's nice. It makes the game a lot easier for me. I like to use speed. I'm not too much of a dipsy-doodler, so it's good to play with players that compliment me."

Head coach Ron Wilson was impressed with Williams' overall game on Monday, as he was with recently promoted defenceman Jaime Sifers.

"Williams has got a big-time shot and great hands (and) he's starting to show that he's committed to other parts to his game," Wilson said. "You look at Jamie Sifers as well, his attention to detail is right where we need it to be."


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