Sting cen­tre Adam Ruz­icka off to a blaz­ing start.

Sec­ond-year cen­tre im­proves pro­duc­tion by chang­ing his game

The Observer (Sarnia) - - FRONT PAGE - MARK MALONE

Ev­ery­thing was new for Adam Ruz­icka last sea­son – new team, new league, new coun­try.

The Sar­nia Sting cen­tre had to get ad­justed to a new way of life af­ter ar­riv­ing from Bratislava, Slo­vakia, for his rookie cam­paign.

This sea­son, the rest of the OHL has to ad­just to a new Ruz­icka.

The 18-year-old is off to a blaz­ing start af­ter re­work­ing his game and his mind­set in the off-sea­son.

“My game has com­pletely changed from last year,” Ruz­icka said. “I changed my sense of ur­gency and com­pete in the games and my will­ing­ness, so my game looks dif­fer­ent now. That's why I'm scor­ing some goals and play­ing good.”

He leads the Sting with seven goals and 12 points in seven games. He's in the top four in the OHL in both cat­e­gories.

Last sea­son, Ruz­icka didn't score his sev­enth goal un­til his 23rd game.

He's done a good job of cap­i­tal­iz­ing on his scor­ing chances this sea­son. He's skat­ing faster and car­ry­ing the puck with more con­fi­dence.

He worked hard all sum­mer to take his play to a higher level.

“Now the sea­son came and I had a good NHL camp and I had lots of ex­pe­ri­ence from the NHL camp and I brought it here,” he said. “It's good.”

The six-foot-four, 215-pound Ruz­icka went to his first NHL camp af­ter be­ing cho­sen by the Cal­gary Flames in the fourth round of this year's draft.

The Flames didn't have picks in the sec­ond or third rounds, so he was their sec­ond over­all se­lec­tion.

He played three games for the Flames at a rookie tour­na­ment in Pen­tic­ton, B.C.

“It was a good tour­na­ment over­all,” he said. “That's where I showed them that I can play hockey. That's why I got in­vited to main camp. It was good over­all for me.”

Play­ing at the Flames' main camp helped to pre­pare him for this sea­son in Sar­nia.

“It's an amaz­ing feel­ing to know those guys, guys which play in the NHL,” he said. “And to know how they work, how they prac­tise, how they eat, how they work their nor­mal lives. It's an amaz­ing feel­ing to be there, to be with those guys. It gives you a lot of con­fi­dence to come back to ju­nior.”

Ruz­icka is on a three-game goal-scor­ing streak. He'll try to ex­tend it Fri­day when the Sting host the Mis­sis­sauga Steel­heads at 7:05 p.m. at Pro­gres­sive Auto Sales Arena.

They'll also host the Guelph Storm at 7:05 p.m. Satur­day and visit the Wind­sor Spit­fires at 2:05 p.m. Sun­day.

mmalone@post­media.com

MARK MALONE/POST­MEDIA

Sar­nia Sting cen­tre Adam Ruz­icka is one of the lead­ing scor­ers in the On­tario Hockey League with 12 points in seven games.

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