by Matthew Tanner (Resident Bruins Expert)
Chilliwack Bruins forward Ryan Howse is continuing to impress early in the WHL season. On Saturday night, the Calgary Flames third round draft pick lead Chilliwack over the Vancouver Giants with a “natural hat-trick” in the second period of a 6-3 win. The three goal performance was his second in just nine games this season. Howse’s first goal came 7:59 into the second period on a 5-on-3 man advantage. Thirty-nine seconds later he struck again on the power play. He followed this up with his third goal a mere 19 second after that, completing the “natural hat-trick.” The hat-trick was completed in only 58 seconds!
While you may think that this must be a WHL record for the fastest hat-trick ever, it is not. The fastest recorded hat-trick in the WHL was scored by Jim Harrison of the Estevan Bruins in just 24 seconds on Dec. 4, 1966. Although this was not the fastest in league history, it was the fastest in Chilliwack Bruins history. All this considered, scoring three goals in a 58 second span is an impressive, if not unbelievable, feat.
The Bruins’ top line – comprised of the “Three R’s,” of Ryan Howse, Roman Horak and Robin Soudek – continues to impress. Howse brought his goal total up to an impressive 14 in nine games, good for best in the WHL so far. Roman Horak has six goals and seven assists in eight games so far. Robin Soudek had two goals and two assists in the game against the Giants to boost his total so far to 12 points in nine games. The Bruins’ first line is showing no signs that it will slow down any time soon.
Bruins defenseman Brandon Manning has also been a dominating force on the ice. Since he was returned to Chilliwack by the New York Rangers, he has scored three goals and nine assists in seven games. Manning’s 12 points in seven games makes him the leading scorer among defencemen in the WHL so far this season. Brandon Manning finished the 2009-10 WHL season eighth among defencemen in scoring, so his push for the top is a welcome and expected development. It is a trend that the Bruins hope will continue all season long.
The Chilliwack Bruins also made a roster move earlier in the week. Twenty-year-old left-winger Shayne Neigum was released by the team. The roster move was necessitated by the existence of the WHL overage player limit. In the Western Hockey League each team is only allowed a maximum of three 20-year-old players on their roster. The Bruins had four 20-year-olds on their roster and made the cut before the deadline date. Sticking with the team are 20-year-old defencemen Jeff Einhorn, and the aforementioned Brandon Manning, in addition to Bruins starting goaltender Lucas Gore. Shayne Neigum played in 76 games for the Bruins recording 11 goals and 13 assists.