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    SPOTLIGHT ON OUR YOUNG GUNS

    Brandon Lesko, F
    Flin Flon Bombers

    by Dave Leaderhouse

    The Flin Flon Bombers are in the hunt for a second straight trip to the league finals, and a possible Canalta Cup championship, and they are doing so thanks to a very deep bench.
    Brandon Lesko is part of that depth and the second-year winger from Hafford, Sask., moved up the chart this year after nearly doubling his output from his rookie campaign when he collected 23 goals and 26 assists in 50 games during the 2016-17 regular season. As a freshman, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Lesko notched 8-18-26 totals.
    In the playoffs it looks like the just-turned 19-year-old is ready to be more of a threat as well as Lesko had just one goal in 14 post-season tilts a year ago while this time around he already has a pair of tallies in the first two games against the Notre Dame Hounds.
    Lesko got his first taste of Junior “A” hockey when he was in his second year of midget hockey as he was called up for one game with the Bombers during the 2014-15 season. While he never registered a point he was on the team’s radar and after a 54-point season with the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s Battlefords Stars he was ready to make the jump to the next level as a 17-year-old.
    Lesko’s performance in junior is following that of what happened at the midget level as he more than doubled his output from his first season with the Stars when he had 9-17-26 totals as a 15-year-old before improving dramatically to where he had the 54 points on 21 goals and 33 helpers.
    Lesko, who was a 10th-round pick of the Calgary Hitmen in the 2013 Western Hockey League bantam draft thanks largely to a 66-point output in 50 games with the Battlefords Bantam AA squad, has also made a pair of elite teams during his development. In 2013, Lesko represented Saskatchewan at the under-16 championship while this past winter he was part of Team West that competed at the World Junior “A” Challenge.
    The Bombers have one of the most potent offences in the league and Lesko is playing a bigger role in that production each and every game. With two more years of junior eligibility remaining he figures to be an even bigger part of the Bombers’ future.

    Curtis Meager, G
    Estevan Bruins
    by Dave Leaderhouse

    Coming out of Midget AAA hockey there was no goaltender with a more attractive resume than Curtis Meger.
    The 18-year-old Regina product had won almost everything imaginable in his two seasons with the Pat Canadians: top goaltender as a rookie in 2014-15; first-team all-star in his first season and second-team all-star the following year; best goals-against average two years in a row (1.91 the first year and 1.68 last season); best save percentage (.934) as a freshman.
    All of that added up to a bronze-medal finish at the 2015 Telus Cup national midget championship and a chance to make the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders at the start of the 2016-17 campaign.
    Armed with a pair of veteran netminders already, the Raiders reassigned Meger to the Estevan Bruins in early October and all the 6-foot-1, 172-pound Meger did was win 14 of his 22 appearances with two of those being shutouts.
    Meger finished his first season of junior hockey with a 3.18 goals-against average and .905 save percentage and while Nathan Alalouf has gotten the nod early in the post-season, Meger is more than ready and capable to jump in if the opportunity arises.
    Prior to this year, Meger’s junior experience consisted of 18 minutes of work with the Bruins as a 16-year-old in 2014-15 and some exhibition and emergency back-up action with the Raiders. He has now firmly let it be known he is ready to play at the junior level and with two more years of junior eligibility remaining he will undoubtedly only get better and given additional responsibilities.

    FACES IN THE GLASS

    GREYSON REITMEIER, F
    Flin Flon Bombers

    by Craig Stein

    Flin Flon's Greyson Reitmeier racked up nine points in his last three regular season games to make a late charge and end up tied for the SJHL scoring lead with Notre Dame's Ben Duperreault.  Reitemeier trailed Duperreault by seven points heading into the final weekend, and he capped things off with an assist in the dying minutes of Flin Flon's last regular season game, to finish up with 79 points (28g-51a).  Reitmeier's 20-year-old season was a breakout one, as he 13-goals and 26-points a year ago, and 7-goals and 16-points as a rookie.  He shared both the scoring lead and the SJHL Player Of The Year honour with Duperreault, and Reitmeier will play NCAA Division I next season at Michigan Tech.

    DAKOTA ODGERS, F
    Yorkton Terriers

    by Craig Stein

    Dakota Odgers is seeing his Junior hockey career come full circle.  The 20-year-old from Spy Hill, SK, joined the Terriers for the playoffs in 2013 when they went all the way to the Canalta Cup Championship, beating the Humboldt Broncos in six games.  Odgers had 8 points in 8 playoff games at just 16 years of age.  Four seasons in the Western Hockey League with Swift Current, Vancouver and Moose Jaw later, Odgers returned to the Terriers at this season's trade deadline, and rediscovered his scoring touch once again, getting a prominent role in the Terriers' top six, putting up 21-points (8g-13a) in 19-games.  As the Terriers get set to battle the Viterra Division champion Estevan Bruins in the Quarter-Finals, Odgers is looking to end his last junior season the same way his first did.

    CONNOR SWYSTUN, D
    Humboldt Broncos

    by Craig Stein

    Whenever the Humboldt Broncos' season ends, whether it's this month or if they go on a run, it will bring an end to an incredibly consistent, steady career for 20-year-old defenseman Connor Swystun.  The Saskatoon product will have played every single game of junior he ever suited up in, in Broncos' Green & Gold, and there were a lot of them.  The Broncos recognized Swystun for his 200th regular season game, and his regular season career was capped with 207, with 50 or more in each of his four seasons, and prior to these playoffs even starting, he'd added another 14 post season games to his career, and he'll leave big skates to fill when the Broncos kick off their 2017-2018 season.


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