Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Losing Note for First Half Finale

Tim McGauley had a pair of goals for Brando on Tuesday

  The Brandon Wheat Kings closed out their first half schedule with a 6-5 overtime loss to the Regina Pats on Tuesday night.
  Connor Gay scored 3:24 into overtime for the Pats while Tim McGauley scored a pair of goals for Brandon to extend his point-scoring streak to 12 games.
  Nolan Patrick, John Quenneville and Ryan Pilon also scored for the Wheat Kings, who led by two goals four times in the contest.
  “We just never got rid of them.  We had the 2-0 lead, they made it 2-1.  We had a 3-1 lead, they made it 3-2,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, “We had a 4-2 lead, they made it 4-3.  5-3 lead, and then didn’t have the ability to regain the lead.  That’s where the pattern broke and, at the end of the night, it’s a disappointing loss.”
  It was a surprising effort for the Wheat Kings considering how well the team had played in back-to-back wins over Swift Current and Red Deer this past weekend.
  However, the club failed to gain traction through much of the contest, particularly in the third period and overtime when the Pats outshot Brandon 21-5.
   “I don’t know if this is something that happens the last game before the break, if it’s focus issue or what it is,” added McCrimmon, “I don’t think there’s any excuse that’s acceptable for letting a game like that get away when you’re leading 2-0 after two shifts in the hockey game.  If that can’t lead to playing a solid game on home-ice, I don’t know what will.”
  Morgan Klimchuk and Braden Christoffer had a goal and two assists each for the Pats while Sergey Zborovskiy and Austin Wagner also scored for Regina.
  Daniel Wapple made 27 saves for the Pats while Jordan Papirny stopped 33 shots for Brandon.
  The Wheat Kings finish the first half of their season with a 24-7-3-1 record and sit atop the Eastern Conference with a four-point lead over second-place Medicine Hat.
  Brandon’s next game is December 27th, when they open a home-and-home series by visiting the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Chaff...Brandon scratches were F Jayce Hawryluk (lower body), F Jesse Gabrielle (upper body), D Kale Clague (upper body) and D Mark Taraschuk (healthy)...McGauley was 14 goals goals and 23 poins during this 12-game point-scoring streak...Patrick’s goal was his 14th of the season, tops among all WHL rookies...Reid Duke’s second period assist was the 100th point of his WHL career.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Lewis Relished Wheat Kings' Debut

Ty Lewis made his Wheat Kings' debut Sunday
  Ty Lewis made his long-waited Wheat Kings' debut Sunday in the Brandon Wheat Kings' 4-0 shutout of the Red Deer Rebels.

  The 16-year old Lewis suffered a broken arm in training camp and re-injured the limb during his initial rehabilitation about a month later, sidelining him for the first 33 games of the regular season.

  "Obviously, growing up in Brandon, you always picture and dream of playing for the Wheat Kings some day.  It was nice to get back playing after being out for so long," said Lewis after the Wheat Kings' practice on Monday, "A little nervous to start but as the game moved along, I got used to it a little more and felt a little more comfortable.  I kind of know what to expect now and should be fine from here on out."

  Lewis, Brandon's third round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, didn't find out he would be making his debut Sunday until after Jesse Gabrielle was scratched after taking warmup.

  "There wasn't much time to get nervous.  All you can do is just prepare for the game the best you can.  Obviously, it's nice to get playing again, I was excited to hear that," said the 5-foot-10, 176 pound Lewis, "After the first couple of shifts, I got the jitters out and after that, I think it went all right."

  Lewis, who had 28 goals and 57 points in 38 games with the Brandon AAA Midget Wheat Kings last season, could play in his second game Tuesday when the Wheat Kings host the Regina Pats (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  Jesse Gabrielle and Rihards Bukarts both sat out Brandon's practice on Monday while Jayce Hawryluk skated in a no-contact jersey after practice was over.

  Brandon (24-7-2-1) has a three-point lead over second-place Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference standings entering Tuesday's contest, and are 12 points ahead of second-place Regina in the East Division standings.

Chaff...Brandon G Jordan Papirny was named the WHL nominee for the CHL Goaltender of the Week award Monday.  Papirny stopped 52 of 54 shots in two starts last week...the Pats should have Morgan Klimchuk back in their lineup Tuesday after he was released by the Canadian Junior Team on Sunday...Brandon F Tim McGauley takes an 11-game point-scoring streak (12 G, 9 A) into Tuesday's contest...Wheat Kings' D Ivan Provorov leaves Wednesday for the Russian Jr. team training camp ahead of the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Mumps Not Concerning Wheat Kings, Yet

Wheat Kings' GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon says there's
no concerns about the mumps for the team at this point
  Western Hockey League teams are monitoring the mumps outbreak in the National Hockey League, but they don't appear to be overly concerned about it crossing over into the junior ranks.

  Brandon Wheat Kings' GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon says they normally take precautions to prevent the spread of other illnesses like the flu, but haven't done anything extra because of the mumps outbreak in the NHL.

  "Just in communication with our training staff and with our team doctors and I think at this point, they don't feel there's anything that needs to be done," said McCrimmon, "That's probably the course of action that we'll take."

  More than a dozen NHL players including Pittsburgh Penguins' star Sidney Crosby have been diagnosed with the mumps over the last few weeks, but it hasn't reach the junior ranks as of yet.

  "The biggest challenge that our team has and has had and deals with pretty much each year is when you get flu going through your team," added McCrimmon, "That's the more common challenge that temas in our league are faced with on an annual basis."

  Members of Canada's world junior team received booster shots to vaccinate against the mumps on Monday.

  "I think we got to be careful,'' head coach Benoit Groulx said, "It's better to be precautionary than having a problem after. It's more precautionary than anything else.''

  Those infected with mumps can have a fever, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite, followed by the swelling of salivary glands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Wheat Kings Blank Rebels

Teammates congratulate Jordan Papirny at the end of
Sunday's contest
  Jordan Papirny stopped 23 shots as the Brandon Wheat Kings blanked the Red Deer Rebels 4-0 on Sunday.

  Tim McGauley scored twice in a span of 42 seconds in the third period for Brandon to extend his point streak to 11 games while John Quenneville scored a first period power-play goal and added an assist for the Wheat Kings.

  "When your team has a shutout, it's a reflection on every single guy that played in the game, they made a contribution to the win," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game show, "I thought it was a funny game. I thought our defence competed hard below the hashmarks, it was a hard-fought game along the boards and I thought (Papirny) made the saves that he needed to."

  Papirny came close to his second shutout of the season and third of his career Friday, when Brandon downed Swift Current 4-2 with the Broncos scoring twice in the final four minutes of that contest.

  He wasn't to be denied on Sunday, getting the benefit of a Connor Bleackley shot off the cross bar in the second period and making his best stop of night about nine minutes into the third period, a sprawling glove save on Red Deer's Grayson Pawlenchuk.

  "We didn't give up too many scoring chances the whole game. As a goalie that's really good and it helps you out in the long run," said Papirny, "The boys were playing really good defence tonight and it really helps me out back there."
John Quenneville had a goal and an assist Sunday

  Reid Duke also scored for Brandon, extending the Wheat Kings' lead to 2-0 with his 10th of the season 1:31 into the middle frame.

  Another key for Brandon was a perfect penalty-kill, going 6-for-6 in an over-officiated game and keeping their opponents from scoring a power-play goal for just the 11th time in 34 games this season.

  The victory improved the Wheat Kings' record to 24-7-2-1 and leaves the team with a three-point lead over second-place Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference standings.

  "It's important to go into the break on a high note, and also to have the separation between the teams below you.  We always talk about that in the room and it's going well," said Papirny, "We're excited to play our last game here and head into the break on a high note."

  Brandon closes out their first half schedule by hosting the Regina Pats on Tuesday night (7 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...Brandon played Sunday without forwards Jayce Hawryluk and Jesse Gabrielle.  Gabrielle was scratched after warmup with an upper body injury, paving the way for Ty Lewis to make his Wheat Kings' and WHL debut, while Hawryluk missed his second straight game with a lower body injury...D Kale Clague (upper body) and D Mark Matsuba (healthy) were Brandon's other two scratches...Boissevain product Meyer Nell of the Rebels snapped a 17-game goalless streak Saturday when he scored his 7th of the season in Red Deer's 4-1 victory in Moose Jaw...the Rebels acquired D Nelson Nogier, 18, and F Austin Adamson, 18, from Saskatoon just before Sunday's game.  Red Deer sends F Mason McCarty, 17, a second round pick in 2015 and a first round pick in 2016 to the Blades...the Canadian Junior team released five players on Sunday including Elkhorn product Travis Sanheim of the Calgary Hitmen and Regina Pats' forward Morgan Klimchuk.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Campbell Key Part of WK's Forward Depth

Duncan Campbell
  The Brandon Wheat Kings host the Red Deer Rebels in their first Sunday home game of the season (4:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The Wheat Kings sit atop the WHL's Eastern Conference (23-7-2-1), with the club's forward depth part of the reason for Brandon's first half success.

  Duncan Campbell has scored seven goals while mainly seeing fourth-line duty with the Wheat Kings, part of a Brandon forward contingent that is on pace to have 12 players finish the season in double digits in goals.

  "Didn't have many high expectation because then, if I don't meet them, I'm disappointed in myself," said Campbell after Brandon's practice Saturday, "Obviously, I wanted to produce especially being an 18-year old rookie, and I think I've done a pretty good job so far and I just want to keep getting better, keep producing, get some more goals and get some more wins."

  Campbell's contributions mirror those of less-heralded forwards like Braylon Shmyr, Quintin Lisoway, Tyler Coulter and Tanner Kaspick, but their ability to match up against virtually any line that opposition throws out is a big reason why Brandon's top lines can produce as effectively as they have.

  "I like to be a guy coach can count on.  I like to be responsible and do the right things, especially in a tight situation like a close-scoring game," said Campbell, "I think it shows a lot of trust, and I'm very proud to be able to go out against those top guys and just work my butt off."

  Campbell's first career WHL goal came in Brandon's second game of the season on September 20 in Regina, but the Brandon's product says that career highlight was outdone on Friday night.

  The 6-foot-3, 196 pound Campbell scored 1:59 into Friday's win over Swift Current to put the Wheat Kings' 'Teddy Bear' goal title on his mantel.

  "I think it actually takes the cake right now.  Hometown, big crowd, and it was a little nicer than my first WHL goal," said Campbell, "It was a great experience, full barn and seeing a lot of those Teddy Bears come down for a good was awesome."

  Campbell joins Rene Hunter (2013), John Quenneville (2012), Ryan Pulock (2011) and Shayne Wiebe (2010) as players to score the 'Teddy Bear' goal in the last five years.

  Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings will be without forward Jayce Hawryluk for the second straight game on Sunday, and the 18-year old Florida Panthers' draft pick is expected to be sidelined until after the Christmas break with a lower body injury.