After a hot start to the season for Boston Bilous, the DUBNetwork’s Brandon Rivers sat down to interview Bilous last week about his development and mind-set going into this season.
BR: How did it feel getting your first shutout of the year in Saskatoon?
BB: We had a little sour taste after losing our home opener to them, so we wanted two points. It was a pretty even game and we didn’t get a goal until 10 minutes left. For me, it’s all about my teammates, we had 26 shots, I don’t get a shutout or win the game if guys aren’t sacrificing their bodies, it’s a team effort and I’m just a small part of it.
BR: How is your mind-set this season after having pretty sporadic starts behind CHL goalie of the year Ian Scott and knowing you’re basically the guy in Prince Albert now?
BB: I knew getting traded to Prince Albert I would step behind Ian Scott and watch and observe. I tried to take full advantage of that, and it was the best thing for me. I can’t thank Ian Scott and those veteran guys enough for showing me the way and how to be a professional. That carries into this year. You earn what you get. I’m not promised to start any certain number of games it’s a privilege not right and I got to keep working for every start.
BR: Going into this year the defense was looked to be a big strength but players like Brayden Pachal and Zach Hayes are in the AHL. What is it like to have younger guys step up?
BB: When you look at guys like Pachal, Hayes and (Sergei) Sapego people say you want them back but us as an organization all we want is those guys to pursue their pro-careers and succeed. We aren’t selfish here at all. We honestly hope they play in the NHL this year. We don’t want to see them back here but if they are back that is a fortunate bounce for us. With our younger guys here we have no worries with guys like Kaiden Guhle, Landon Kosior, and the other guys they are finding their way. We will have growing pains like any other team but that’s hockey. I think what we have seen out of our younger guys especially our defensive core is we are looking pretty good and working to build off it.
BR: You’ve had an interesting route to the WHL. You had a pretty good opportunity at the University of Denver but decided to join the Edmonton Oil Kings instead. What made you choose the WHL?
BB: For me at the time I was committed for about a year and I was leaning towards the NCAA but you go over your pros and cons with you hockey circle. There was no specific reasons I choose the WHL but I went over the pros and cons. I saw a lot of pros with the WHL side of it with my development, the schooling package, and other things, so at the time I felt it was best to sign a WHL contract and I don’t regret a thing.
BR: How much of a challenge was it in Edmonton last year with the number of goaltenders and getting limited playing time and them getting moved to Prince Albert?
BB: I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was difficult at times but at the same time, I wanted to be an Oil King and I’m loyal to whatever team I’m playing with. I’m in Prince Albert now and I bleed PA colours and its home for me and could not be more excited to be here. Going back to Edmonton thing I’m loyal and I didn’t ask for a trade. I never wanted to get out of there and wanted to show them what I had. I never got that opportunity and I’m fortunate to be in Prince Albert with an unreal staff and players and I’m going to show them what I have.
BR: That Game 7 (of the WHL Final) had to be one of the best games you have seen in person. What has that like?
BB: Obviously you just want anyone to score but Dante and I were the only BC kids on the team when the puck trickled across the line it was probably the fastest, I’ve ever skated. It a special feeling that you’ll never forget.
BR: What did you work on this offseason knowing you would have the opportunity to play as much as you will earn?
BB: I don’t there was any real special weird things I really attacked this summer. It was plain and simple. In Edmonton last year it’s no secret my success wasn’t there and that’s 100% on me. I didn’t go into this summer freaking out trying to change everything and becoming a totally different person. I’m trying to be the best Boston Bilous I can be. I tried to attack the basics and fine tuned my strengths. I tried to work on my weaknesses like skating and the mental side. When you get in the position where you get the opportunity to play more games you must attack the mental side and dig deep. Trying to stay on an even keel 24/7. Other than that, it wasn’t a lot different than any other summers and I don’t think I had as must time to work on things like in the past with a short offseason.
Raiders this week:
Last weekend the Raiders over came a slow start in Regina beating the Pats 5-2. The game seen rookies Evan Herman and Cole Nagy scoring their first WHL goals. The recently acquired 20-year-old Brayden Watts had two goals and one assist in his Raider debut. Aliaksei Protas and Ozzy Wiesblatt also had three points each in the victory.
On Saturday the Raiders won in overtime when Jeremy Masella scored his 1st of the year on a nice pass from Protas. It was a lackluster game that didn’t have a lot of pace and it looked like both teams had played the nights before. Kaiden Guhle had his best game of the season playing physical and dominating during stretches of the game. Ilya Usau scored his 1st WHL goal on a nice short side shot.
In other news the Raiders traded 17-year-old forward Cohner Saleski to Red Deer for a 4th and 6th round draft pick. A former 17th overall selection could never get into the lineup and seemed to get passed on the depth chart. Saleski had some injuries the past couple season that seemed to have stunted his development. In Red Deer he will get the chance to play.
This weekend the Raiders welcome their heated rivals Saskatoon Blades and Saturday the Regina Pats come to town for the 1st time this season. Saturday is Ozzy Wiesblatt bobblehead night which you can pick up for $2.