TIGERS ADVANCE WITH CLEAN SWEEP

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There will be a new WHL Champion crowned this spring as the Brandon Wheat Kings were eliminated from the WHL Playoffs following a 3-2 game four loss in Dauphin on Wednesday night.

The Medicine Hat Tigers complete the sweep and advance to the Eastern Conference semi-final vs the winner of the Red Deer / Lethbridge series.

In what was the most exciting game of the series, the Wheat Kings came up just shy of forcing overtime as a late goal from Tyler Coulter crossed the line just seconds after the final buzzer sounded.

Logan Thompson turned in a spectacular effort for the Wheat Kings making 51 saves and keeping the game scoreless through 40 minutes.

However, much like in game three the Tigers pounced quickly to start the third period.

Two goals in the opening 91 seconds of the third period gave them their first lead of the game.

Brandon would cut into that lead when Reid Duke notched his 3rd of the playoffs less than 2:00 later.

Midway thru the frame, David Quenneville fired home a power play goal for his 2nd of the night and the eventual game winner to add to his playoff leading 11 points.

Kale Clague would respond on a late power play from Brandon setting up the furious finish.

The four game series loss was the first time Brandon had been swept since the 2015 WHL final series vs the Kelowna Rockets.

Brandon would finish the night 2/4 on the power play while the Tigers scored once on five opportunities.

The loss brings the 50th anniversary season to a close. A season that saw one game postponed due to fog and another due to a blizzard, well over 100 man games lost due to injury and a case of the mumps!

Graduating players Dmitri Osipov, Reid Duke and Tyler Coulter were awarded the games three stars and were giving a standing ovation from the fans remaining inside Credit Union Place.

NOTES

-The Wheat Kings scratched Garrett Sambrook (Sick), Meyer Nell (Lower Body), Nolan Patrick (Lower Body), Tanner Kaspick (Upper Body) and Daniel Bukac (Healthy).

-James Shearer left the game after the first period and did not return.

-Game four attendance was 1825

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TIGERS TAKE A 3-0 STRANGLEHOLD

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The Medicine Hat Tigers have a 3-0 series lead in the WHL Quarter-Finals after a 6-2 win in game three on Tuesday night.

The Tigers got three goals in a span of 3:09 to break a 2-2 tie in the third period to take a stranglehold on the series.

David Quenneville lead the way with a goal and three assists for the Tigers who got 27 saves from Michael Bullion.

The Tigers scored the opening goal for the third straight night before Ben McCartney scored his first WHL goal early in the 2nd period.

The clubs would exchange goals in the 2nd period to head to the locker room deadlocked at two.

Cue the Tigers offensive explosion.

Mark Rassell, Ryan Jevne and Chad Butcher all found the back of the net between the 4:12 and 7:03 mark of the third period to put the game out of reach.

Logan Thompson kicked aside 40 shots in the losing effort.

Brandon finished the night 1/3 on the power play while the Tigers converted on 1 of 6 opportunities.

Game four of this series goes Wednesday night in Dauphin. Game time is 7:30 with the CKLQ pre-game show slated for 7:00.

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TIGERS HOLD SERVE, GO UP 2-0

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The Medicine Hat Tigers got two goal nights from John Dahlstrom and Zach Fischer on rout to a 5-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday.

That gives the Tigers a 2-0 series lead in the WHL’s Eastern Conference Quarter-Final.

Following up a 7-2 victory on Friday, the Tigers fired 44 shots on goal on route to the victory. Logan Thompson, who faced 52 shots on Friday kicked aside 38 saves before leaving the game late in the third period after a collision with Tiger forward Mason Shaw.

Travis Child came on in relief and stopped the lone shot he faced in just over 5:00 of action.

In comparison to game one, the Wheat Kings had a much better effort including keeping the Tigers power play at bay. They finished the night 1/5 and are now 5/14 in the series.

“In the third period we got going a little bit,” Brandon coach David Anning told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun following the game.

“We had some energy and I thought guys were working. We scored some goals, which is important. We had more pressure up the middle of the ice, we had more traffic. We started to generate some looks and we were able to capitalize. Obviously there are some positives to come back and build on Tuesday.”

Brandon got goals from Connor Gutenberg, Reid Duke and Tyler Coulter despite only throwing 23 pucks at Tiger netminder Michel Bullion.

The Wheat Kings, who will now host Medicine Hat for games three and four this week in Dauphin, played without their captain again on Saturday. Nolan Patrick, who missed game one of the series after a full week of practice, is currently listed as day to day with a lower body injury.

Both games are scheduled to start at 7:30, with the CKLQ pre-game show beginning at 7:00.

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PENALTIES KILL WHEATIES IN PLAYOFF OPENER

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It was a night to forget for the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday as they dropped a 7-2 decision in game one of the WHL’s Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals.

The Tigers got a hat-trick from Mark Rassell and converted on four of nine power plays on the night to walk away with the victory.

“It’s tough to win games when you take that many penalties,” said forward Tanner Kaspick.

“It’s the playoffs, we have to just put this in the rearview mirror and move on and try and get a split.”

The Wheat Kings were outshot 52-28 on the night including a 18-7 stretch in the first period.

Logan Thompson finished the night with 45 saves while Michael Bullion wasn’t tested all that often, making 26 saves for the win.

Of the Tigers seven goals, five of which were scored with a Wheat King in the box. Not only did the Tigers get four goals while on the power play, they scored  the games opening goal 4 on 4.

Brandon got goals from Stelio Mattheos and Tyler Coulter but failed to gain any traction throughout the game and found themselves trailing all night long.

Despite the loss, nobody is hitting the panic button.

“We have an experienced group of guys,” added Kaspick.

“We all know what its all about. We need to forget about this and move on to the next one.”

David Quenneville finished the night with three assists while four other Tigers finished with multi-point nights.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday night. Game time at the Canalta Centre is 8:30 MB time. The CKLQ pre-game show begins at 8:00.

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LOCKERBY HELPING TRANSITION TO DAUPHIN

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For the first time since 2012, the Brandon Wheat Kings will host their first round WHL Playoff games away from Westman Communications Group Place.

Due to the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, the Wheat Kings will be forced to play their first round home games at Credit Union Place in Dauphin, Manitoba.

In previous years, when the Wheat Kings needed a new playoff home they headed down the Trans-Canada Highway to Winnipeg into the MTS Centre. However, the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose now call the arena home and a battle for ice time between those two clubs and the busy concert schedule made another trip to the Manitoba capital impossible.

Interestingly enough, the man in charge of welcoming the Wheat Kings and the Western Hockey League to Credit Union Place is none-other than former Wheat Kings forward Brandon Lockerby.

Lockerby, who played for the Wheat Kings from 2005-2007 is the Assistant General Manager of the arena and led Wheat King and WHL Officials on a facility walk-thru on Tuesday morning.

“We’ve been very fortunate in the last five or six years to have hosted some major events and I think that was something that drew attention to the Wheat Kings as a secondary option,” said Lockerby.

The 1,763 seat facility opened in 2006 and is home to the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings and has hosted a number of events including the 2010 Royal Bank Cup and the 2014 Western Canada Cup.

Now, with the Kings out of the MJHL playoff picture, a new type of royalty will be welcomed into the halls of the arena and the fans in the parkland region are excited about it.

“There is quite the buzz around town right now. Unfortunately the Kings (MJHL) and Rangers (AAA Midget) didn’t end up on a long playoff run and for a lot of people in the area, they are still hockey hungry,” added Lockerby.

Although the arena is in impeccable shape, hosting a WHL playoff game is not a simple as turning the lights on and letting the teams play. The to do-list for Lockerby is a lengthy one.

From installing the WHL’s video replay system, to adding the “Trapezoid” area behind each goal-line, the former Wheat King and Edmonton Oil King has a lot on his plate.

However, despite the busy schedule he is taking this opportunity as a chance to repay the Wheat Kings for everything they did for him early in his career.

“It’s something I take to heart. Being the Wheat Kings and being a former player, it’s something I really take pride in.”

“I’ve been given many opportunities by Kelly McCrimmon and the Wheat Kings organization. In a sense, this is my way of returning the favour and hopefully as a host arena and a city we can accommodate the Wheat Kings and put on a great show.”

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PATS EXPLODE FOR SEVEN

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Photo Courtesy of Keith Hershmiller Photography
GAME HIGHLIGHTS – CLICK HERE

The Regina Pats rolled to their 51st victory of the season in front of a sell-out crowd at the Brandt Centre on Friday night.

The Pats got multi-point nights from four different players on route to a 7-1 win.

Sam Steel scored his 50th of the season while Adam Brooks had 2 goals and 2 assists to lead the way for the Pats who got three goals in a span of 6:00 in the 2nd period to break the game wide open.

Tyler Brown turned aside 21 shots for the win, while Travis Childe made 28 saves for Brandon.

The Pats finished the night 2/4 on the power play while the Wheat Kings failed to convert on four power play chances.

Daniel Bukac had the lone goal for Brandon, who dropped to 9-21-3-3 away from Westman Place.

The Wheat Kings were once again left shorthanded as they travelled without Garrett Sambrook (Illness), Tanner Kaspick (Upper Body), Kale Clague (Upper Body) & Tyler Coulter (Suspension). They added to that list in the first period as Nolan Patrick and Reid Duke left the game. Fortunately for Brandon, Patrick made his return to start the 2nd period while Duke missed the remainder of the game.

These two teams will meet again tonight (Saturday). Game time at Westman Place is 7:30, the CKLQ pre-game show begins at 7:00. 

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BWK SNAP ROAD LOSING STREAK

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GAME HIGHLIGHTS – CLICK HERE

The Brandon Wheat Kings snapped a 10 game road losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday night.

The game was completed a week later than originally scheduled after the blizzard that struck Westman last week forced the two teams to post-pone their 2nd game of the season.

Logan Thompson turned in a first star performance kicking aside 28 shots including 11 in the first period to lead the Wheat Kings to the win.

The Warriors would open the scoring in the 2nd period as Jett Woo fired a seeing eye shot from the point that somehow eluded Thompson and ended up in the back of the net. It was the 5th consecutive game in which Brandon had allowed the opening goal.

The Wheaties would quickly respond as Connor Gutenberg took the puck from behind the Warriors net and sent a backhand over the shoulder of Brody Wilms to tie the game at one.

Moments later, Reid Duke and Nolan Patrick raced in on a 2on1 with Duke electing to shoot. That decision would prove to be a good one as he beat Wilms for his team leading 37th of the year, giving Brandon their first lead of the night.

In the third, the Wheat Kings killed off an almost full two minute 5 on 3 opportunity that garnered a number of Warrior chances. That would prove to be a huge point in the game as Caiden Daley’s goal moments after the conclusion of the power play would be all the insurance the Wheat Kings would need.

Both teams finished the night 0/2 on the power-play, while Brody Wilms finished the night with 21 saves.

Both teams now know their first round playoff foe. The Warriors will meet the Swift Current Broncos in the (3) vs (4) matchup while the Wheat Kings will take on the Medicine Hat Tigers in the (2) vs (7) seeding. Both those series’ are expected to start a week from Friday.

Brandon will wrap up the WHL regular season with a home and home vs the Regina Pats. That starts tomorrow night at the Brandt Centre. Game time is 8:00 MB time with the CKLQ pre-game show at 7:30.

 

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