Monday, 26 January 2015

Comfort Level Going up for Gow

Reid Gow
  Reid Gow is feeling a lot more comfortable as a Brandon Wheat King these days.

  The 20-year old Gow joined the team three weeks ago and it took a while for the former Spokane Chiefs' captain to get back into the swing of playing in the Western Hockey League.

  "I felt kind of like a fish out of the pond there at the start.  Just wasn't up in good enough shape to  be playing with this good of a hockey club," said the Killarney product after Monday's practice, "I'm starting to feel a lot better now, feel more excited to help contribute to the team and it's an awesome organization to be a part of."

  Gow has played in eight games with the Wheat Kings since joining the team just over three weeks ago after spending the first half of the 2014-2015 season with the University of Manitoba Bisons.

  There's were a few adjustment for Gow to make in coming back to the WHL, not the least of which is getting used to playing games a little more often.

  "Just getting back into having games every other day.  We played Friday and Saturday in the CIS, which is awesome, but you're not as intense thoughout the week," said Gow, "Here, you play every other day so you have to be ready to go every game and, obviously, every two points is important and when you're in the hunt, it's even more exciting."

  Gow also says the style and structure of play with the Wheat Kings is different than what he was used to during his four seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, and that is also something that's been a bit of an adjustment for him.

  The Wheat Kings will be looking to run their winning streak to a season-high seven games Tuesday night when they host the Swift Current Broncos (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...the last time the Wheat Kings had a seven-game winning streak was when they won eight in a row to close out the 2009-2010 regular season...rookie D Kale Clague (upper body) continues to practice in a no-contact jersey with the Wheat Kings.  Clague has missed the last 27 games...the Broncos will be without World Junior gold medalist Dillon Heatherington for 4-6 weeks after he suffered an upper body injury.  Heathington joins Broncos' alternate captains Coda Gordon and Carter Rigby in the infirmary.

Milestone at hand for McCrimmon

  It could be a milestone night for Brandon Wheat Kings' GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Tuesday night.

  McCrimmon has 399 career coaching victories and could become the 14th coach in Western Hockey League history to reach the 400-win mark if the Wheat Kings can down the visiting Swift Current Broncos Tuesday (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  McCrimmon has a 399 win, 297 loss and 55 tie career record in the WHL, with this season likely to be the sixth time in his last nine full seasons to lead the team to 40-plus victories.

  McCrimmon will join the likes of former Wheat Kings' bench bosses Bob Lowes, Dean Clark and Doug Sauter as WHL coaches to reach 400 wins.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Wheat Kings Rout Pats

Nolan Patrick (center) reached the 20-goal mark on Saturday
  The Brandon Wheat Kings pushed their winning streak to six games on Saturday night with an 8-3 win over the Regina Pats.

  Reid Duke had two goals and an assist for the Wheat Kings, who trailed 2-1 midway through the second period before scoring seven goals in the next 18 minutes and 55 seconds of the contest.
  “I thought guys played harder in the second and third than they did in the first.  Even though we had some time with the puck in the first period, I thought we were being a little cute and a little fancy,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “I thought the second and third were a lot more workmanlike and because of that, better results followed.”
  The Wheat Kings threw 55 shots at Regina netminders Daniel Wapple and Tyler Brown including 43 over the final 40 minutes of the contest.
  Ryan Pilon and Nolan Patrick also scored a pair of goals each for Brandon, with Patrick’s two markers making the 16-year old Winnipeg product the first rookie in the WHL to reach the 20-goal plateau on the season.
  Quintin Lisoway, who snapped a 16-game goalless streak, and Rihards Bukarts also scored for Brandon while Tim McGauley and Ivan Provorov added three assists each.
  The contest was the first between the Wheat Kings and the Pats since a January 2nd trade that saw Brandon send Jesse Gabrielle to Regina for Morgan Klimchuk.
  With that in mind, the Wheat Kings felt being disciplined was one of the keys to their success.
  “We didn’t want to get too engaged with their play and when they weren’t disciplined, we took advantage of that,” said Pilon, who scored one of Brandon’s three power-play goals on the night, “The refs were looking for us to make a couple of penalties but our discipline stayed real well and it paid off for us in the end.”
  Klimchuk had two assists against his former team to become the seventh Wheat Kings’ player to reach the 40-point mark for the season.
  The victory moved Brandon (35-9-3-1) eight points ahead of idle Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference standings.
  The Wheat Kings’ next game is Tuesday when they host the Swift Current Broncos (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).
Chaff...Brandon scratched F Jayce Hawryluk (upper body), D Kale Clague (upper body), D Mark Matsuba (healthy) and D Mark Taraschuk (healthy)...the six wins matches the Wheat Kings’ longest winning streak of the season, set from October 28 – November 8...Provorov’s 24 power-play points (7 G, 17 A) are the second-most in the Western Hockey League.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Wheat Kings Win Fifth Straight

Tanner Kaspick scored his first goal of the season Friday
  The Brandon Wheat Kings ran the winning streak to five games Friday night with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

  Tim McGauley scored the opening and closing goals of his 200th career WHL contest while Alex Moodie stopped 31 shots in the Wheat Kings’ net.
  “It was a big game for Alex because his game in Red Deer (January 10th) wasn’t at the level his previous starts had been.  He was excellent and had some real good saves tonight in all three periods,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “I thought he was sharp, he was anticipating the play, he was following rebounds and tracking the puck.  I thought he really played well for us so a real solid win for him.”
  Tanner Kaspick, Rihards Bukarts and Reid Duke also scored for the Wheat Kings while Eric Roy and John Quenneville added a pair of assists each
  For the 16-year old Kaspick, it was his first goal of the season in what was his 30th game of the year.
  “I think going into every night, you have that expectation and I know us three (with linemates Duncan Campbell and Quintin Lisoway) try to work hard every night,” said Kaspick, who scored his first career WHL goals as a callup last season, “That hard work paid off here tonight.”
  The victory allowed Brandon (34-9-3-1) to maintain their six-point lead over second-place Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference standings and improved the Wheat Kings’ WHL-best home record to 17-3-3-0.
Alex Moodie made 31 saves in the Brandon net.
  Brandon is back in action Saturday night when they host former Wheat King Jesse Gabrielle and the Regina Pats (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).
  It’ll be the first meeting between the Wheat Kings and Pats since they hooked up on a 1-for-1 trade January 2nd that saw Brandon acquire Morgan Klimchuk for Gabrielle.
Chaff...Brandon’s scratches Friday were F Jayce Hawryluk (upper body), D Kale Clague (upper body), D Mark Matsuba (healthy) and D Mark Taraschuk (healthy)...Roy’s two assists give the 20-year old blueliner 11 points (all assists) and a +11 rating in 12 games since the Christmas break...McGauley is now tied for 4th in the WHL with 29 goals, and is tied for 7th in points with 58.

Klimchuk Facing Former Squad this Weekend

Morgan Klimchuk
  You'll have to excuse Morgan Klimchuk is he's looking ahead one day.

  Klimchuk will face his former team for the first time Saturday night when the Brandon Wheat Kings host the Regina Pats (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  Klimchuk was acquired by the Wheat Kings on January 2nd for Jesse Gabrielle in a 1-for-1 trade.

  Three days later, the Pats also dealt three of Klimchuk's long-time Regina teammates in Kyle Burroughs, Connor Gay and Dryden Hunt.

  "It's obviously very exciting.  It's a big game for our team let alone for myself playing against the team that I started in this league with and got drafted into this league with," said Klimchuk after Thursday's practice, "There's not a lot of guys left there that I did play with.  There are still a few left but it's a big game for the team and that's just what I'm focusing on is getting the two points."

  The Calgary Flames' first round pick in 2013 has three goals and eight points in seven games with the Wheat Kings and takes a three-game point-scoring streak into the weekend.

  "Everything from on the ice, off the ice, your routine and getting to know the guys and getting more comfortable," said Klimchuk, "When you get traded to a new team, there's so much you have to adjust to let alone the play on the ice but I think everything is starting to come along real nice now and I'm pretty happy with how my last couple of games have gone and the team is playing well so we're just looking to keep that rolling."

  Klimchuk lined up with new linemates in practice on Thursday.

  After spending his first seven games playing wing with centre Tim McGauley, Klimchuk was paired with Nolan Patrick and Peter Quenneville during Thursday's session.

  The Wheat Kings will be looking to make it five straight wins on Friday night when they host the Prince Albert Raiders (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  Brandon enters the game with a six-point lead over second-place Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference standings and are just one point behind the Kelowna Rockets for top spot in the overall WHL standings.

Chaff...F Jayce Hawryluk will miss his second straight game Friday after suffering an upper body injury last week.  The Florida Panthers' draft pick is expected to be sidelined until at least late February...D Kale Clague, who's been out since mid-November with an upper body, took part in drills at practice Thursday in a non-contact jersey...the Wheat Kings were #3 in this week's CHL Top-10 rankings, the fourth straight week they've been #3 and the 17th straight week they've been in the Top-10...Brandon F Tim McGauley is scheduled to play in his 200th career WHL game on Friday night...former Wheat Kings' co-captain Matt Calvert, whose Columbus Blue Jackets are enjoying the NHL all-star break, is expected to be in attendance at Friday's game.