Wheat Kings forward Rihards Bukarts is the Denny’s WHL Player of the Week

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(ISN) – CALGARY, AB -The Western Hockey League announced today that Brandon Wheat Kings forward Rihards Bukarts is the Denny’s WHL Player of the Week for the week ending February 8th, 2015.

Bukarts collected seven points (4g-3a), while posting a plus-five rating in four games over the past week and helped to lead the Wheat Kings to four straight victories.

On Wednesday, February 4th, Bukarts scored three points (1g-2a) to lead the Wheat Kings to a 6-3 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers while claiming first star honours. On Friday, February 6th, Bukarts scored a goal against the Kootenay Ice in a 5-3 victory and also added an assist in the Wheat Kings’ 4-1 decision over the Ice the following night. Bukarts concluded the week against the Lethbridge Hurricanes on February 8th in which he scored the game-winning goal and added another in a 7-2 triumph which marked his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season.

A 19-year-old Jurmala, Latvia native, Bukarts has gathered 55 points (23g-32a) along with a plus-14 rating in 45 games this season. He ranks second in team scoring for the Wheat Kings and his nine power play goals are second-best for Brandon. The 5’9″, 192 lb forward is in his second WHL campaign with the Wheat Kings where he has amassed 109 points (51g-58a) in 110 career regular season matches. Bukarts was selected seventh overall by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2013 CHL Import Draft.

The WHL has also nominated Taran Kozun of the Seattle Thunderbirds for the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week award. Kozun, a 1994-born netminder from Nipawin, SK, registered a 1.50 goals against average and a .955 save percentage, including one shutout, in two starts this past week. On Friday, February 6th, Kozun made 26 saves to help the Thunderbirds defeat the streaking Portland Winterhawks. On Saturday, February 7th, Kozun turned aside all 38 shots he faced to earn a 3-0 shutout over the Vancouver Giants while claiming first star honours. Now in his fifth campaign in the WHL, Kozun has posted a 55-47-6-7 record with nine shutouts in 119 career regular season appearances.

Denny’s WHL Player of the Week
Feb. 2 – Feb. 8: Rihards Bukarts, Brandon Wheat Kings
Jan. 26 – Feb. 1: Oliver Bjorkstrand, Portland Winterhawks
Jan. 19 – Jan. 25: Tyrell Goulbourne, Kelowna Rockets
Jan. 12 – Jan. 18: Tim McGauley, Brandon Wheat Kings
Jan. 5 – Jan. 11: Oliver Bjorkstrand, Portland Winterhawks
Dec. 29 – Jan. 4: Travis Brown, Victoria Royals
Dec. 15 – Dec. 28: Trevor Cox, Medicine Hat Tigers
Dec. 8 – Dec. 14: Cole Sanford, Medicine Hat Tigers
Dec. 1 – Dec. 7: Connor Rankin, Calgary Hitmen
Nov. 24 – Nov. 30: Oliver Bjorkstrand, Portland Winterhawks
Nov. 17 – Nov. 23: Lane Bauer, Edmonton Oil Kings
Nov. 10 – Nov. 16: Sam Reinhart, Kootenay Ice
Nov. 3 – Nov. 9: Rourke Chartier, Kelowna Rockets
Oct. 27 – Nov. 2: Josh Morrissey, Prince Albert Raiders
Oct. 20 – Oct. 26: Conner Bleackley, Red Deer Rebels
Oct. 13 – Oct. 19: Joe Hicketts, Victoria Royals
Oct. 6 – Oct. 12: Ivan Nikolishin, Everett Silvertips
Sept. 29 – Oct. 5: Madison Bowey, Kelowna Rockets
Sept. 22 – Sept. 28: Carson Stadnyk, Everett Silvertips
Sept. 19 – Sept. 21: Jay Merkley, Swift Current Broncos