Jets prospect Petan letting the playoffs ride
Flying high, going deep
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This article was published 29/04/2015 (2957 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
He’s worn Canada’s colours and has suited up for the Winnipeg Jets during the pre-season. But on most game nights spread out over the last four full winters — 326, to be exact — Nic Petan has pulled on the red, black and white of the Portland Winterhawks.
And so while the future Jet is trying to live in the here and now, including Games 3 and 4 of the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference Final Tuesday and Wednesday, the 20-year-old centre knows his days as a junior player are nearing an end.
One chapter is about to close and another, as a pro, is about to begin.
“I think about that before every game, that this is coming to an end,” said Petan, prior to Tuesday’s Game 3 against the Kelowna Rockets. “It’s a little bit more motivation to work that much harder to stay in and make this last as long as we can. It is winding down here, but I think we’ve got a good chance here to go far again.
“I look back and there’s only a few of us left from 2013 (the Winterhawks squad that lost to Halifax in the Memorial Cup Final), but it’s definitely motivation. We just want to let this season go as far as we can and enjoy these last moments of junior.”
Petan is one of four Jets prospect still flying in the Canadian Hockey League playoffs along with teammate Chase De Leo, Josh Morrissey of the Rockets and Jan Kostalek of the Rimouski Oceanic. A nifty playmaker who has overcome his size (5-9, 175) to keep statisticians busy at every level — including 134 goals and 434 points in both regular season and playoffs over the past four years — Petan has worked to develop his defensive game to become a reliable 200-foot player.
His goal-scoring totals were down this year to 15 as he battled injuries, but he’s cranked up his production in the playoffs and had eight in 13 games (heading into Tuesday’s contest).
“I’ve been in and out this season, but it’s been a solid year,” said Petan. “The goal scoring was low, just playing with two shooters this year I was passing the puck more. But when the playoffs started I took more responsibility to take more shots and it’s kinda working out for me. I’m shooting way more than I did in the regular season and I seem to be finding a few holes.
“I really love playing in my own end, I love defending against other teams’ top players. I’m very competitive in that way and have learned to be more comfortable in my own zone whether I play centre or wing. And in the offensive zone I’ve always just been able to roll with it.”
Petan and De Leo are all in for the Winterhawks push to another WHL title but, admittedly, also were occasionally wrapped up in watching the Jets in their playoff push and their first-round loss to Anaheim.
“We watched the Jets games together and in the playoffs were rooting for them, obviously,” said Petan. “A couple of close calls and that series might have gone the other way, but it was a really good season for them.
“We talk about the future once in awhile. We’re good buddies and it’s kinda cool that after junior we’re going to be heading out on the same path together. I’m super-excited for next year… but we’re just trying to string together as many wins as we can right now to keep this thing going.”
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