Leschyshyn glad to be back in Cup hunt after 2017 in­jury

Regina Leader-Post - - SPORTS - ROB VANSTONE rvan­stone@post­media.com twit­ter.com/rob­van­stone

Jake Leschyshyn is in a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion.

In­stead of be­ing part of the crowd, as he was through­out the 2017 WHL play­offs, the Regina Pats for­ward is a key mem­ber of his team in the post-sea­son.

A torn an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment, suf­fered Feb. 3 of last year, proved to be a sea­son-end­ing in­jury. As a re­sult, it was a bit­ter­sweet spring for Leschyshyn as he watched the Pats win the Eastern Con­fer­ence ti­tle and ad­vance to the league fi­nal.

“I was in the stands last year,” Leschyshyn said. “It was fun to be a part of the at­mos­phere, but it re­ally sucked not to be out there help­ing the guys. This year is a lot of fun.”

Leschyshyn and the Pats are op­pos­ing the Swift Cur­rent Bron­cos in an Eastern Con­fer­ence quar­ter­fi­nal. The best-of-seven se­ries was tied 2-2 head­ing into Fri­day ’s game in Swift Cur­rent. Game 6 is slated for Satur­day, 7 p.m., at the Brandt Cen­tre.

A sixth game be­came a cer­tainty when Leschyshyn scored his sec­ond goal of the game — an emp­tynet­ter — to seal the out­come on Wed­nes­day, when Regina won 6-3 to knot the se­ries.

Al­though the two-goal out­ing was sweet, just be­ing part of the post-sea­son is a treat for the 19-year-old son of for­mer NHL de­fence­man Cur­tis Leschyshyn.

“I’m en­joy­ing ev­ery minute of it,” the third-year for­ward said. “Play­off hockey is when I think I play some of my best hockey. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to the rest of it.”

Leschyshyn required surgery to re­pair the in­jured knee, but the Ve­gas Golden Knights were un­de­terred. They se­lected him in the sec­ond round, 62nd over­all, of the 2017 NHL draft.

He pro­ceeded to reg­is­ter 18 goals and 22 as­sists in 64 reg­u­lar-sea­son games. After four post-sea­son con­tests this year, he had two goals and one as­sist.

Cov­er­age of Fri­day’s Pats/Bron­cos game ap­pears on lead­erpost. com

Jake Leschyshyn

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