Boychuk hard to handle as 'Hawks look to round two

Pad tap to Scott Sepich of Yahoo! for his piece on Portland Winterhawks forward Riley Boychuk. The 6'5 Boychuk has hammered his way through the WHL this season, scoring a career-high 18 goals in third-line minutes for the talented Winterhawks while racking up a hard-earned 148 PIM.

Even though Boychuk may not look specifically for offense, Johnston has trusted him in some power play situations and says the big guy is deceptively talented with the puck.

"He has great hands for a big man, and he's very quick in tight," said Johnston.

Still, Boychuk is mostly known for being front and center in any scrum while he's on the ice. He says he's trying to gain more control of his emotions on the ice to prevent taking unnecessary penalties that have hindered his game in the past.

"Mike (Johnston) talks about playing more whistle to whistle, and going out after big hits during the play rather than shoving after the whistle and taking those kind of minor penalties," he said.

Johnston praised Boychuk's improving "control," but hopes he can continue to walk a fine line between aggressiveness and recklessness.

"I've gone too far sometimes," Boychuk admits. "Part of my game is to get in people's faces as a big body, and I'm not going to back down from anyone. I just have to be smart about it."

Portland will begin their second round series Thursday when they host the Kelowna Rockets.
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