With Ryan Kujawinski's North Bay Battalion eliminated from contention from the OHL championship playoffs, the last New Jersey Devils prospect still in play in the CHL is center and 2014 first round pick (30th overall), John Quenneville. (Devils 2012 6th round pick, Artur Gavrus, is currently playing for Belarus at the IIHF World Championships, and depending on if he continues his scoring pace, I will do a write-up on him)
The WHL Championship series, game 1: Kelowna Rockets at Brandon Wheat Kings. The Rockets had a scoring burst in the second period where they jumped ahead of the Wheat Kings by a score of 3-1.
John Quenneville ended up without a point for the night, but still had an impact. He played 3rd line center last night, so he found himself in more of a defensive role for the game. He also got time on the second powerplay and penalty kill units for Brandon.
Brandon would ultimately fall to Kelowna by a score of 4-3. Quenneville excelled in his defensive-first role, much like he has all season for Brandon. He's not offensively-challenged, it just shows how deep of a team Brandon is that he's on the third line center duty. In case you've read any of my previous reports, Quenneville has been playing a role of second-line center for most of the year, but has also bounced to the third line center position too. When Quenneville gets consistent top-6 minutes next year, his offensive numbers will improve.
This year was very unlucky for Quenneville as well. He was able to make significant strides, mostly in his two-way game, but whenever he would hit a new tier for offensive output, he would get injured or hit a real cold streak. He was really snakebitten for the better part of the year as well. This could all be coming from the pressure of being a first-round pick. This piled on to affect some of his confidence and caused him to overthink things. He's really coming through these playoffs though, building off an already-strong playoff performance from last year.
As for this particular game, Quenneville was not absent at all, despite his flat statline may suggest. He was really solid in the face-off circle and created good chances by driving to the net. I see more and more of Adam Henrique's game in Quenneville; the ability to not necessarily show up on the scoresheet but to have a good effect on the game around him. I am looking forward to the second game of the WHL Championship tonight in Brandon against Kelowna, starting at 8:30 PM EST. Here's hoping all the best to JQ!
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