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Vilmer Alriksson steals the show in OHL Canucks prospect duel vs. Hunter Brzustewicz’s Rangers

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Photo credit:X/Vancouver Canucks
Dave Hall
5 months ago
It’s always an anticipated match when two fellow Vancouver Canucks prospects face off against one another.
Today, we saw Hunter Brzustewicz and Vilmer Alriksson take the ice against each other for the first time in the OHL, providing Canuck fans with an exciting Saturday afternoon tilt.
Brzustewicz, the 18-year-old American, wasted no time making an impact, securing a secondary assist within the first five minutes of the game.
He now has points in 21 of his 24 games this season.
His post-draft year has been nothing short of remarkable, currently ranking second in OHL scoring and dominating the defender field.
With an impressive 34 assists in just 24 games, he has officially reached the 40-point mark, and now sits just 17 points shy of his 2022-23 season total of 57, which he posted in 68 games.
The big question surrounding Brzustewicz at the moment is if his numbers are enough to grant him a trip to Sweden to represent Team USA in next month’s World Junior Championships.
Statistically, he seems as close to a lock as you could be. However, not only does the program have a strong list of right-handed defenders to choose from, but the United States does have a history of passing on prospects who have opted to play in the CHL instead of staying on home soil.
Nevertheless, Brzustewicz’s standout contributions to the Kitchener Rangers certainly leave some tough decisions for the US program over the coming weeks.
On the other side of the matchup, Vilmer Alriksson was up to his own tricks throughout the game.
In the second period, the massive 6-foot-6 Swede decided it was time for his debut OHL fight. He squared off against Kitchener Rangers’ 6-foot-5, Roman Schmidt, in what felt like a heavyweight title match.
He certainly held his own, especially for his first career scrap.
Alriksson fed off of that energy and delivered a highlight-reel assist just a few shifts later.
Starting from his own end, he showcased his strong skating ability, breaking up the ice, and initiating the rush. With his impressive wingspan, he protected the puck masterfully before delivering a smooth one-handed cross-ice feed.
The perks of being 6-foot-6 in the Junior ranks, I suppose.
The assist marks his second in as many games, as he snapped a four-game pointless streak with a helper on Friday.
It’s noteworthy that both points over the weekend were provided at even strength. Considering that seven of his 11 points leading into the weekend were contributed on the power play, it’s encouraging to see him show off the ability to make plays at five-on-five.
With the two points, Alriksson now sits seventh in Guelph Storm scoring, amassing six goals and 13 points across 22 matches.
His willingness to drop the gloves adds yet another layer of intrigue to his already impressive skill set. Standing out with his size, skating ability, and shooting prowess, Alriksson continues to showcase a versatile game, which includes little hesitation to throw his heavy frame around.
The 2023 fourth-round project continues to impress in his rookie OHL season.
Fans won’t have to wait long to see these two prospects face off once again, as Guelph and Kitchener are set to play on Tuesday, December 5th.
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