Sunday, 29 November 2015

Hawryluk Nets Pair as Wheat Kings Edge Tigers

Ivan Provorov had two assists in Satuday's
victory in Medicine Hat
  The Brandon Wheat Kings earned a split in their two-game Alberta road trip thanks to a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday night.

  Jayce Hawryluk had two goals and an assist for the Wheat Kings, including the game-winning goal just under six minutes into the third period.

  That marker came just under three minutes after the Tigers had tied the game 3-3 on a goal from Max Gerlach.

  John Quenneville and Reid Duke also scored for Brandon while Logan Thompson improved his season record to 8-and-1 by making 25 saves in the Wheat Kings’ net.

  Despite the win, the Wheat Kings remain three points behind first-place Prince Albert in the WHL’s East Division.

  Brandon’s next game is Wednesday when they visit the Swift Current Broncos (6:30 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

Chaff...Hawryluk recorded his 200th career WHL point Saturday, becoming the 46th player in Wheat Kings’ history to reach that mark...Brandon scratched F Braylon Shmyr (upper body), F Connor Gutenberg (healthy) and D Mark Matsuba (healthy)...Brandon went 5-for-5 on the penalty-kill and 1-for-3 on the power-play, with Hawryluk’s game-winning goal coming just after another power-play chance ended...the Wheat Kings are 26-for-28 (92.9%) in their last nine games...the game was Brandon’s first in the new Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

'Canes Double Wheat Kings

Jordan Thomson made his Wheat Kings' debut
on Friday.
  The Brandon Wheat Kings surrendered the game’s final three goals in a 4-2 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday night.

  Tyler Wong and Justin Gutierrez scored 1:59 apart early in the second period to turn a 2-1 Brandon lead into a 3-2 deficit, with Gutierrez when scoring about seven minutes into the third period to give the ‘Canes a two-goal advantage.

  “I thought they got a lot of momentum, tied the game and took the lead and, from there, I thought they were the better team the rest of the night,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “Going into the third down one goal, you’re still very much in the game...the 4-2 goal really hurt us.”

  John Quenneville and Tanner Kaspick scored the goals for Brandon, with Kaspick extending his point-scoring streak to four games with his first period marker.

  Jordan Papirny stopped 31 shots in the Wheat Kings’ net while Jayden Sittler made 23 saves in goal for Lethbridge.

  The Wheat Kings went 0-for-3 on the power-play last night and are now 2-for-27 in their last eight contests.

  Brandon will look to bounce back when they conclude their two-game Alberta road trip tonight in Medicine Hat (8:00 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

Chaff...Jordan Thomson made his Brandon debut last night, going pointless with an even plus-minus...the loss was Brandon’s first regulation defeat to the Hurricanes since November 9, 2012...among those in attendance Friday was former Wheat Kings’ goaltender Alex Moodie, who is taking advantage of the WHL Scholarship program to attend Lethbridge College and take criminal justice.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Wheat Kings GA's on Near Record Pace

  The Brandon Wheat Kings are on pace to do something during the 2015-2016 season that they’ve only done twice before in franchise history.

  The club is third in the Western Hockey League with a 2.52 goals against average, and are on pace to allow fewer than 200 goals this season.

  Brandon’s franchise record for fewest goals against in a season is 187, set in 2002-2003, while the club also allowed 199 goals against during the 2004-2005 season.

  “I think guys realize that we don’t have the same offence we did last year, and are focused on stopping in the house and getting pucks out (of the defensive zone) as fast as possible,” said Brandon captain Macoy Erkamps on Thursday, “We’re going to take pride in still needs to improve but it’s going well so far.”

  The Wheat Kings have allowed 61 goals against in their first 23 games this season, which would put them at 191 through a 72-game season.

  Brandon’s increase in protecting their own end comes inspite of missing what is likely their best defensive forward in Tim McGauley for most of this season.

  The club’s structure in their own zone is much improved over last season.

  “Goes know where to be, and guys know where their teammates are going to be,” said Erkamps, “When you’re in the same situation and you know where each other is going to be, it’s a lot easier to get pucks out, to get pucks to your teammates to get them out and not turn it over on the blueline and stuff.”

  Brandon is +19 in goals for/against in even strength situations so far this season, while another thing helping the Wheat Kings keep their goals against down recently is an improved penalty-kill.

  The club is 19-for-21 in their last six games – a 90.5 per cent success rate.

  The Wheat Kings will be looking for a third straight win tonight when they open a two-game Alberta road trip in Lethbridge (7:30 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

  Brandon hasn’t played since a 2-1 home-ice victory over the Regina Pats last Friday, but will play 12 games over the next 23 days leading into their Christmas break.

  Jordan Thomson will make his Wheat Kings’ debut Friday night after being acquired in a trade with Swift Current on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Thomson Joins Wheat Kings in Deal with Broncos

  The Brandon Wheat Kings completed their second deal of the day on Thursday evening, acquiring defenceman Jordan Thomson from the Swift Current Broncos.

  The Wheat Kings pick up the Wawanesa product in a 1-for-1 deal, with 18-year old blueliner Mark Taraschuk headed to Swift Current.

  "The move to Brandon is going to be a good one for him.  He's familiar with a lot of the guys on our team, he's a Manitoba guy and I think this is going to be exciting for him," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "I think he's going to be able to contribute in a number of different ways and make our blueline better."

  The 5-foot-11, 192 pound Thomson is in his fourth WHL season and has two goals and six points in 24 games with the Broncos this year while notching 12 goals and 54 points in 159 games during a WHL career that has also included stops in Kamloops and Saskatoon.

  "He's got a real good shot, he's a good puck handler, he can pass the puck.  He brings experience, this being his fourth year in the league," added McCrimmon, "We're trying to position our team to win and I think they more experience you can have, the better."

  Thomson is also a right-shot, which will be an asset to a Wheat Kings team that had just captain Macoy Erkamps as a right-shooting defenceman until this point.

  Thomson is expected to join the Wheat Kings on Thursday and will make his Brandon debut on Friday night when the Wheat Kings open a two-game Alberta road trip in Lethbridge (7:30 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

Harrison Dealt to Cougars

Luke Harrison
  Luke Harrison's tenure with the Brandon Wheat Kings lasted 19 days.

  The club dealt the 20-year old forward to the Prince George Cougars Wednesday for a ninth round pick in the 2016 Bantam Draft, allowing the Wheat Kings to get back down to the WHL maximum of three 20-year old players in Tim McGauley, Colton Waltz and Macoy Erkamps.

  "Luke was as advertised," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Wednesday, "We described him as a real honest, hard-working two-way player and I think that's exactly what he was in the six games that he played here."

  Harrison had two goals in six games with Brandon, and has four goals in 17 games with the Wheat Kings, Kamloops and Spokane this year.

  The Cougars become the fourth WHL team he'll play for this season.

  "Luke knew when we got him that this could happen.  As we talked about at the time (we acquired Harrison), who knows what changes around the league by then," added McCrimmon, "During that time, Prince George had an opening and he's going to get a chance to go there and contribute.  He helped us during his time here and gets a new opportunito for him to play in the league."

  Harrison's departure not only leaves Brandon with the WHL maximum of three 20-year old players, but it also leaves the Wheat Kings with 23 players on their roster -- 14 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

  Brandon returns to action Friday when they open a two-game Alberta road trip in Lethbridge (7:30 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

Chaff...Brandon Wheat Kings' F Nolan Patrick visited Branstone Financial Strategies Wednesday afternoon to deliver his Team WHL jersey.  The jersey was put up for auction Friday in support of the Braden Pettinger Fund, with Branstone Financial submitting the winning bid of $5,500.  Below is a picture of Nolan Patrick with Kevin Martin of Branstone Financial.