(1090 The Fan) — The Seattle Thunderbirds took advantage of a little locker-room dysfunction in Lethbridge as it acquired forwards Jaimen Yakubowski and Sam Mckechnie from the Hurricanes Thursday, in exchange for Riley Sheen, Carter Folk and a third round selection in the 2015 Bantam Draft.
Both Yakubowski and Mckechnie reportedly asked to be traded after their Lethbridge squad started the season 2-11-1-1 through 15 games.
Yakubowski, 19, is a left wing who scored one goal in 11 games with the Hurricanes. Mckechnie, also 19, is a right wing with one goal and two assists through nine games. The two arrived just after 4 p.m. Saturday and skated prior to the 7 p.m. start time.
Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk said he jokingly asked Yakubowski if he wanted to play, thinking he would be too weary, but the forward said he was good to go. He was and made a difference right away for the T-Birds.
“I half-jokingly to both of them asked, ‘Are you guys skating? Do you want to play?’ and [Yakubowski] said ‘Yeah’, so I’m like ‘OK, get ready and go.’”
“He definitely helped us. Troockie got bumped up there,” Konowalchuk said referring to Branden Troock who was injured late in the second period, Saturday. “So he went on the line and was our most dependable line in the third period. It was a great job by him and I sure like the spark and energy he brings.”
“He was fired up,” added Konowalchuk of Yakubowski. “You cannot have enough competitive, smart hockey players. You build your team with those kind of guys and it’s a tough team to beat.”
Sheen, who was originally acquired from Medicine Hat in May of 2012, had been playing well of late for Seattle. The left wing brings eight points (three goals and five assists) over to Lethbridge where he could see a bump in ice time.
Folk, meanwhile, was in his first season with the T-Birds and had yet to register a point in seven games.
Kolesar Nets First Career Goal
He had to wait 15 games, but the first goal was still pretty sweet for T-Birds forward Keegan Kolesar.
Kolesar, 16, scored his first career Western Hockey League goal on his second shift Saturday night against Vancouver when Seattle went on its first power play of the game. Just eight seconds into the power play, Kolesar was able to tap in a loose puck in front of the Vancouver net to notch the memorable goal.
“Just normal power play, we won the draw…I just went up to screen in front of the net…and I was able to get it,” Kolesar said.
Kolesar has been playing up on the first line with Seth Swenson and Eric Benoit. He’s also been a mainstay on the T-Birds power play due to his 6-foot, 224 pound frame.
“It’s not the most glamorous position on the power play but I like it,” Kolesar explained about his role. “When I get my chance…(I) try and finish.”
How is he getting acclimated to the WHL?
“I’m starting to get more comfortable with the league,” said Kolesar. “Each day is a new day and learn more every day. Other than that, I’m feeling pretty comfortable with everything I am doing here.”
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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