Boychuk primed for WHL final

Digging deep to bring you the latest and greatest in the world of the Sabres prospects, we'll turn it over to Riley Boychuk's hometown (Abbotsford, B.C. News) for a nice piece prior to the match-up with former bantam 'mate and Koootenay ICE netminder Nathan Lieuwen.

Emerging from a dark period, Boychuk's Winterhawks are set to offer a serious challenge to their counterparts. Rested Kootenay, led by stalwart rearguard and fellow Sabres prospect Brayden McNabb, will enter the series on a dominating 11-game winning streak after earning sweeps in their previous two rounds. Boychuk himself has pulled through a dark time, battling back after surgery on both hips to re-invent himself as a legit role player at the next level.

Like the team he plays for, Boychuk's game has undergone a transformation. After piling up gaudy stats in his final bantam season (60 goals and 74 assists for 134 points in 63 games), he's become a grinding power forward in the WHL. The 20-year-old is seventh in Winterhawks playoff scoring (10 points in 16 games), while putting his 6'5", 220-pound frame to good use on the forecheck.

"My role is to use my big body to wear and tear on their D-men," said Boychuk, who was a seventh-round draft pick by the Buffalo Sabres last summer. "A hard, energy-type game is what I'll be playing at the next level. So I might as well practice it here."

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