Thursday, 28 April 2016

Wheat Kings Knock Off Rebels

  The Brandon Wheat Kings grabbed a 3-1 lead in the WHL’s Eastern Conference Final with a 4-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday night.

  Tim McGauley and John Quenneville had a goal and an assist each for Brandon, with McGauley snapping a 2-2 tie at 6:36 of the third period for his third game-winning goal of the playoffs.

  McGauley now has eight goals and 18 points during a 10-game point-scoring streak while Quenneville’s goal was his WHL-leading 12th of the post-season.

  In addition to those performances, Brandon netminder Jordan Papirny had a solid 34-save performance in the Wheat Kings’ net after being pulled for the first time in his WHL playoff career in Game Three on Tuesday night.

  Grayson Pawlenshuk opened the scoring for Red Deer at 3:54 of the first period, with Brandon captain Macoy Erkamps tying it for the Wheat Kings less than two minutes later.

  Quenneville got his goal at the 16:00 mark of the first to give Brandon a 2-1 advantage, a lead the Wheat Kings would hold through the end of the second period.

  Jake DeBrusk scored a power-play goal 17 seconds into the third period to tie the contest 2-2, setting the stage for McGauley’s go-ahead goal just over six minutes later.

  Tanner Kaspick sealed the victory away with an empty-net goal with 55 seconds left in regulation.

  Brandon heads home with a chance to advance to the WHL Final for the second straight year, hosting Game Five Friday night (7:38 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...neither team made any lineup changes Wednesday, with Brandon scratched D Schael Higson, F/D Mark Matsuba, F Garrett Armour and F Caiden Daley...Quenneville’s two points give him 54 in his playoff career, tying him with Brad McCrimmon and Tim Konsorada for fourth-place on Brandon’s all-time list...former Wheat King Jordin Tootoo teamed up with the RCMP to produce a PSA on Violence Against Women, which was released on Wednesday...former Wheat Kings’ captain Daryl Boyle helped Munich capture the German Division One title earlier this week...Seattle edged Kelowna 5-4 in double overtime Wednesday to complete a four-game sweep of the Western Conference Final. It’s the Thunderbirds second straight to the WHL Final in their franchise history, and first since 1997...the Kootenay Ice announced Wednesday that the Chynoweth family had purchased the 24.5% ownership stake brothers Scott and Rob Niedermayer had in the team.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Rebels Jump Back Into Series

Jordan Papirny was pulled for the first time in his WHL
playoff career on Tuesday.
  The Red Deer Rebels erupted for four first period goals and went on to a 6-2 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday night.

  The victory allowed Red Deer to narrow Brandon’s lead in the WHL’s Eastern Conference Final to two games to one.

  “We gave ourselves no chance with the early goal, the inability to stay in the game which is so important on the road, to keep games close,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, “If you’re in the game and you keep it close then you always have a chance.  We fell behind early and then three goals against in a couple of minutes is what put us in an insurmountable hole.”

  The Rebels jumped on Brandon early, with Austin Strand scoring 1:51 into the opening period to give Red Deer a 1-0 lead.

  The Rebels then scored three times in a span of two minutes and two seconds, starting with Haydn Fleury’s third goal of the series at 12:24 and ending with Evan Polei goals at 14:26 that ended the night for Wheat Kings’ starting netminder Jordan Papirny.

  In between was a goal from Braden Purtill that came just seven seconds after Fleury made it 2-0, just one second short of the WHL record for fastest two goals held by Brandon’s Brad McCrimmon and  Laurie Boschman on April 24, 1979.

  Papirny headed to the bench after the fourth Red Deer goal, allowing four goals on nine shots in being pulled for the first time in 42 career playoff starts.

  “I think Jordan has had better nights,” said McCrimmon, “He’d be the first to admit that he needs to be better and we expect that he will.”

  John Quenneville scored his playoff-leading 11th goal of the post-season and Kale Clague added a goal and an assist for the Wheat Kings in the contest.

  Game Four goes Wednesday night in Red Deer (7:38 p.m., 880 CKLQ), with Game Five back in Brandon on Friday.

  Tickets for Game Five will go on sale Wednesday morning (11:00 a.m.) at the Keystone Centre box office.

Chaff...Logan Thompson made his WHL playoff debut in relief of Papirny and stopped 23 of 25 shots...Brandon scratched D Schael Higson, D/F Mark Matsuba, F Garrett Armour and F Caiden Daley...Quenneville's goal moved him into a tie with Lance Monych for 7th-place on the Wheat Kings' all-time playoff scoring list (52 points)...Brandon’s Reid Duke saw his 10-game point streak end Tuesday but F Tim McGauley extended his point-scoring streak to nine games...Kale Clague’s 12 points in the playoffs are tied for the most among WHL defencemen in the post-season...Seattle defeated Kelowna 3-1 on Tuesday to take a 3-0 lead in the WHL’s Western Conference Final.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Wheat Kings, Rebels Set for Game Three

The Wheat Kings practiced in Red Deer Monday in preparation
for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
  It’s Game Three of the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Final Tuesday night when the Brandon Wheat Kings visit the Red Deer Rebels (7:38 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

  Brandon holds a 2-0 lead in the Best-of-Seven series, creating a near must-win situation for the hometown Rebels Tuesday.

  “We need our best game of the season...I think that’s what it’s going to take to win here,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon after Brandon’s practice Monday in Red Deer, “Red Deer have been really strong on home-ice, winning all four games of their seven game series with Regina.  It’s going to be a real good test for our team.  We’re comfortable we were able to get the two wins on home-ice and now the next test will be winning in here.”

  The Wheat Kings have had some decent success in Red Deer in recent years, winning seven of their last ten regular season visits including a 2-1 victory in their last trip into the Centrium on January 30th.

  Brandon’s back-to-back wins to open the series didn’t come without some adversity, as Brandon had to overcome one-goal deficits in the third period in both to come away victorious.

  The Wheat Kings also surrendered seven goals and 70 shots in the first two games, well above the club’s season averages.

  “The biggest thing that’s been plaguing us is our positional play.  I think, in our D-zone sometimes, we’re swinging through and not stopping on our checks,” offered Brandon defenceman Mitch Wheaton, “Sometimes we’re trying to make the fancy play and turning the puck over.  We’ve been a lot more on making simple plays in the D-Zone and we’re going to take that into Game Three.”

  Wheaton added that Red Deer has a good enough offensive team that they’ll create some scoring chances, but they want to make them earn those opportunities rather than make it easy for them.

  On Brandon’s side, Reid Duke will take a ten-game point-scoring streak into Tuesday’s contest.

  The Minnesota Wild 2014 draft pick has 19 points during the streak and is currently second in playoff scoring in the Western Hockey League.

  Tim McGauley has an eight-game point streak intact including goals in five of his last six games while John Quenneville has points in nine of the last ten contests.

  Meanwhile, Tuesday’s game will be a milestone contest for Brandon goaltender Jordan Papirny.

  He’ll make his 42nd career playoff start, breaking Tyler Plante’s club record.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Patrick Stars in Wheat Kings' Win

Macoy Erkamps
  The Brandon Wheat Kings grabbed a two games to none lead in the Eastern Conference Final with a 6-4 win over the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday night.

  Nolan Patrick had two goals and two assists for the Wheat Kings including the game-winning goal with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the third period.

  Patrick's goal snapped a 4-4 tie in what was another wild third period, with Brandon letting a 3-2 lead slip away before scoring the game's final three goals.

  In the end, though, Brandon emerged with back-to-back home-ice wins to start the Best-of-Seven series.

  "It's huge going into Red Deer with two wins, obviously.  The guys came out and played really well," said Brandon captain Macoy Erkamps on CKLQ's post-game show, "We know that in the Regina series that they were a different team at home so we have to be prepared for that but we're feeling really good going into Red Deer."

  Jayce Hawryluk added four assists for Brandon while Tim McGauley and Tyler Coulter added a goal and an assist each.

  "There's guys that are going to get goals and assists at the end of the night but there's a lot of hockey that's just about doing it the right way, playing well and helping your team win," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "I thought Jayce tonight not only, in addition to the four assists he got, I thought he and his line did a really good job of playing the game hard and playing it well."

  Kale Clague and John Quenneville, into an empty-net, also scored for Brandon while Luke Philp had a goal and two assists for Red Deer.

  Jake DeBrusk, Colton Bobyk and Haydn Fleury had the other goals for the Rebels.

  Rylan Toth stopped 35 shots in the Red Deer net while Jordan Papirny made 27 saves for Brandon.

  The series now shifts to Red Deer for Games Three and Four on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Chaff...Saturday's game was the 41st playoff start for Brandon netminder Jordan Papirny, tying him with Tyler Plante for the Wheat Kings' club record...neither team made any lineup changes, with Brandon scratching F/D Mark Matsuba, D Schael Higson, F Garrett Armour and F Caiden Daley...Brandon was 1-for-4 on the power-play and 4-for-5 on the penalty-kill...attendance was 5,353...former Wheat King Jens Meilleur helped the Kassel Huskies capture the DEL2 title Saturday (the German 2nd Division Championship)...Seattle defeated Kelowna 3-2 Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the WHL's Western Conference Final.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Wheat Kings Take Thrilling Game One

The Wheat Kings celebrate their overtime win.
  John Quenneville scored 2:53 into overtime as the Brandon Wheat Kings downed the Red Deer Rebels 4-3 Friday night in Game One of the WHL's Eastern Conference Final.

  Quenneville's winner capped a wild series opener, that included the Wheat Kings giving up a 1-0 third period lead, taking a 3-2 advantage with 44 seconds left and then allowing a game-tying goal with 4.1 seconds left in regulation.

  "It was crazy, crazy emotional game," said Quenneville on CKLQ's post-game show, "What an amazing crowd we had tonight, so much energy in the building and I'm so glad we got the win."

  Quenneville opened the scoring with a goal in the final minute of the first period, giving Brandon a 1-0 lead that would hold up until Evan Polei's power-play goal 3:39 into the third period tied it for Red Deer.

  Adam Helewka then gave the Rebels their first lead of the game at the 7:54 mark, with the Wheat Kings battling back to tie it on an Ivan Provorov goal with 6:21 remaining.

  Stelio Mattheos gave Brandon a 3-2 lead with 44 seconds left in the third period, but Haydn Fleury tied it for Red Deer with a 4.1 seconds left.

  That set the stage for overtime for the first time for both teams in the 2016 WHL playoffs, with Brandon emerging victorious.

  The overtime goal came on a extended shift in the offensive zone and was one of the few times the Wheat Kings were able to cycle the puck deep in Red Deer's end.

  "That's one of the keys we think about...playing our game in the offensive zone, keeping control of the puck," said Quenneville, "It's going to open up opportunities for us and great play by (Reid) Duke there to find the seam and I was able to put it in the back of the net."

  Quenneville's linemates Reid Duke and Tim McGauley had three assists each including setting up the overtime winner.

  Jordan Papirny made 34 saves in the Brandon net while Rylan Toth stopped 27 shots for Red Deer.

  Game two of the series goes Saturday night at Westman Communications Group Place.

Chaff...Brandon's scratches were D Schael Higson, F Caiden Daley, F Garrett Armour and F/D Mark Matsuba...Red Deer's scratches included F Ivan Nikolishin, who has been sidelined with an injury since March 26th...Brandon was 0-for-2 on the power-play and 5-for-6 on the penalty-kill...attendance was 5,060...former Wheat Kings Quintin Lisoway and Colton Waltz have both committed to CIS school, Lisoway to the Manitoba Bisons and Waltz to the  Mount Royal Cougars.