Roblin, Manitoba’s Jayce Hawryluk couldn’t have picked a better time to break out of his scoring slump. After going 12 straight games without a goal, Hawryluk re-discovered his scoring touch with five goals and five assists in the Western Hockey League final, culminating with a six point performance in the clincher.
One’s performance is usually measured in more than just goals and even though his goals per game were cut in half in the playoffs, Hawryluk still managed to finish tied for first in the WHL playoff scoring race with seven goals and 23 assists for 30 points.
“It’s playoffs. It’s not the same as the regular season,” said Hawryluk. “It’s tough to score in playoffs. There’s low scoring games. The defence is so good. It’s a different level come playoff time and I think not a lot of people realize that.”
Wheat Kings general manager and head coach Kelly McCrimmon vigorously defended the play of his regular season leading goal scorer.
“He was one of our best players. He scored an overtime winner. I think he got five goals in the championship final,” said McCrimmon. “There’s a lot of things that help you win at playoff time. There’s a lot more than goals and assists that help you win.”
Hawryluk, 20, was selected in the second round – 32nd overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. He recently signed his first pro contract but he didn’t run out and make any big splurge purchases.
“I’ll reward myself when I make it,” said Hawryluk. “I haven’t made anything yet. Like I’ve signed a contract and I still got lots of work to do, so once I make the NHL hopefully, that’s when I’ll buy something.”
The 2015-16 season has to be considered a bit of a roller coaster for Hawryluk. From signing his first pro contract to the low of being one of the last cuts on the Canadian Junior team in December.
“It’s something I try to not let bother me and I thought I haven’t and it’s something I just had to get over right away because I can’t dwell on that. I can’t change that. I can’t go back in time now.”
All he can do now is look forward with a Memorial Cup title still within his grasp.