CALGARY, AB. – The BOSTON PIZZA WHL Player of the Week is forward Mikael Backlund of the Kelowna Rockets.
Backlund picked up five points, scoring one goal and four assists to go with a +3 rating in two games over the last week, helping the Kelowna Rockets earn a 1-1 split on the road in the opening games of the 2009 Kal Tire WHL Western Conference Championship best-of-seven series with the Vancouver Giants.
On Saturday, April 18th, the Vancouver Giants hosted the Kelowna Rockets in game one of the Kal Tire Western Conference Championship at the Pacific Coliseum. Backlund scored one goal and added two assists as the Rockets downed the Giants 4-2 and jumped out to a 1-0 series lead. Backlund was also named the games 1st Star for his efforts. Game two went the next day, Sunday, April 19th, at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum. Backlund picked up two assists in the tightly contested affair that saw the Giants come out on top with a 4-3 over-time victory to lock the series up 1-1. He also was named the games 2nd Star.
The 2009 Kal Tire Western Conference Championship Series now shifts to Kelowna, B.C. tied 1-1. Games three and four are set at Prospera Place on Tuesday, April 21st and Thursday, April 23rd at 7:00 pm PT.
Backlund, from Vasteras, Sweden, is playing his 19 year-old-season with the Kelowna Rockets. The Rockets selected Backlund 43rd overall at the 2007 CHL Import Draft but did not make his debut in the WHL until this January following the 2009 World Junior Championships in Ottawa. The first round – 24th overall selection of the Calgary Flames at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft appeared in his first NHL game on January 8th prior to joining the Rockets on January 12th.
The WHL has also nominated Tyson Sexsmith of the Vancouver Giants for the ADT CHL Goaltender of the Week Award. Sexsmith posted a 2-1-0-0 record this past week, allowing six goals on 87 shots for a 1.800 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.
Sexsmith, from Priddis, AB, who is playing his 19-year-old season, has spent four years in the Western Hockey League with the Vancouver Giants. The San Jose Sharks drafted the budding prospect in the 3rd round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Sexsmith finished the 2008-09 WHL regular season 4th among all WHL goaltenders with a 2.26 GAA and also collected 39 wins.
BOSTON PIZZA WHL Player of the Week – 2009 WHL Playoffs
Apr. 13 – Apr. 19: Mikael Backlund, Kelowna Rockets
Apr. 6 – Apr. 12: Colby Robak, Brandon Wheat Kings
Mar. 30 – Apr. 5: Jonathon Blum, Vancouver Giants
Mar. 23 – Mar. 29: Mitch Fadden, Tri-City Americans
Mar. 16 – Mar. 22: Matt Lowry, Brandon Wheat Kings