INGRAM SHUTS OUT WHEAT KINGS

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Connor Ingram picked up his 2nd shutout of the season as he kicked aside 29 shots in a 4-0 Kamloops victory over Brandon on Sunday afternoon.

In another frustrating night offensively, the Wheat Kings could not beat the World Junior hopeful and dropped their 3rd straight game.

Kamloops opened the scoring in the first period. Matt Revel capitalized off a turnover in the Brandon zone and potted his 7th of the season midway thru the opening frame.

Randolfs Balcers, who was named the Blazers Player of the Month for November would put the club up 2-0 in the 2nd period after a highlight reel save by Ingram.

The Blazers, who led 27-19 on the shot clock after 40 minutes would never look back on route to their third straight victory.

Devan Sideroff and Scott Mahovlich would add third period goals to send the Wheat Kings to their third straight loss.

The Blazers would finish the night 1/5 on the man advantage while the Wheat Kings failed to capitalize on a pair of power plays.

Jordan Papirny was solid again for Brandon, making 34 saves in the losing effort.

Brandon has a couple of days to regroup now before taking on the BC Division leading Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night. Game time is 9:00 MB time (8:30 on 880 CKLQ)

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MERKLEY DOWNS WHEAT KINGS

For the 2nd straight night, the Brandon Wheat Kings struggled to generate any offence as they fell 3-1 to the Kelowna Rockets.

Jordan Papirny was arguable the best player on the ice for the Brandon Wheat Kings turning aside 33 shots, including all 12 he faced in a fast paced first period.

The Rockets opened the scoring midway thru the 2nd period when Nick Merkley banked one in off Daniel Bukac on a goal mouth scramble.

The goal sent the Teddy Bears Flying in the Rockets annual “Teddy Toss Game.”

After a brief delay to clean the ice, the Rockets went right back to work on a power play when Merkley unleashed a laser beam shot under the bar on a one timer to give Kelowna the 2-0 lead.

There were some fireworks in the 2nd period, as Garrett Armour engaged in his 2nd fight of the season in a wrestling match with DeVante Stephens. Shortly after, Blake Jameson and Konrad Belcourt flipped the mitts, putting a charge into the crowd of 5546 at Prospera Place.

Rookie forward Baron Thompson was charged with a 5:00 major penalty at the end of the 2nd period after a scrum in the corner. I missed the play, but the guys in press row suggested it was a rather dirty, unnecessary hit.

That penalty gave the Rockets a power play to start the third, which they would quickly convert on.

Jake Kryski picked up his 6th goal of the season just 92 seconds into the frame to put Kelowna up 3-0.

The Rockets would finish the night 2/8 on the power play. While Brandon went 0/4 with the man advantage.

Ty Lewis would spoil Broden Salmond’s shutout bid 13:03 into the 3rd period, when he finished off a nice pass from Caiden Daley.

Just moments later Lewis was awarded a penalty shot but couldn’t beat Salmond. The Rockets net minder was solid turning aside 17 saves for the win.

Its another quick turnaround for the Wheat Kings who travel to Kamloops tonight. They will take on the Blazers Sunday afternoon. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 MB time. (6:30 on 880 CKLQ)

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GIANTS WIN OT THRILLER

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The Brandon Wheat Kings trailed for most of Friday night’s hockey game, but got a late power play goal from James Shearer to force overtime and earn a single point in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Giants.

The Giants opened the scoring in the 1st period when Matt Barberis notched his 5th goal of the season from Radovan Bondra and Dmitry Osipov.

A scoreless second period was full of big hits and chippy play. It all boiled over when the buzzer sounded. Stelio Mattheos had no choice but to engage in his first fight of the year as Osipov dropped his mitts and started throwing punches before Mattheos knew what was coming.

Fortunately the referee’s gave Osipov and extra 2:00 for roughing, which set up an early third period 5 on 3 for the Wheat Kings.

However, in one of the strangest turn of events I’ve seen in hockey. Brandon took back to back penalties and once the 3 on 3 situation was over, the Giants emerged with a 5 on 3 power play of their own. Vancouver would fail to convert and finished the night 0/5.

The Wheat Kings were able to get on the board late in the third on the power play when James Shearer ripped home his 2nd of the season to tie the game up. The Wheat Kings would finish 1/6 on the power play.

In overtime, both teams went back and forth but with a delayed penalty being called and the extra attacker on the ice for the Giants, Dylan Plouffe snapped home his 2nd goal of the season to send the boisterous crowd of 4239 into a frenzy.

The win was the Giants 4th OT victory of the season, while the Wheat Kings are 1-4 in the extra frame.

The team will now travel to Kelowna to face the Rockets on Saturday night. Game time is 9:05 MB time. (8:35 on 880 CKLQ.)

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BACK TO THE MAINLAND

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The Brandon Wheat Kings look to make it back to back victories to open up their BC Division Road trip when they make a stop in Langley, the new home of the Vancouver Giants.

The Giants are managed by former Wheat King Glen Hanlon and are coming off six straight losses. However, they did pick up points vs Tri-City and Prince George in their last two games.

The meeting with the Giants, kicks off a weekend three in three for the Wheat Kings who are facing their toughest stretch of the schedule to date.

Friday’s game can be heard on 880 CKLQ with the pre-game show set for 9:00 MB time. Puck drop is 9:30 MB time.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 1st BWK TRAVEL ITINERARY

10:00am – The players and staff all met for one final breakfast in Victoria before heading to the Save on Foods Memorial Centre to pack up all the equipment.

11:00am – The players, along with Therapist Christ Trivieri begin the arduous task of loading over 30 hockey bags, equipment trunks, sticks and suitcases into the bus. After about 20 minutes of heavy lifting, the bus is on its way to the ferry terminal.

1:00pm – The bus is loaded onto the ferry and while some players stay on the bus to sleep, others head straight for the dining hall where they grab lunch of their choice. The highlight of the trip was when the crew announced we were passing a group of whales that had breached the surface. It was a pretty neat experience to see such a giant creature in their habitat.

4:40pm – The players and staff arrive at the Langley Events Centre. Its the first season the Giants have called this place home. Formerly home to the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen, the arena seats just over 5700 people and is also home to the NLL’s Vancouver Stealth and the Trinity Western Spartans of the CIS.

5:30pm – While the players and coaching staff head to the Keg for dinner, Therapist Chris Trivieri and I hoped aboard the Skytrain and went downtown to Rogers Arena to watch the Canucks take on the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks won 3-1 in front of an announced crowd of 17,627. I would have to suggest that the attendance number was a tad inflated. The building was only about 3/4 full and there were entire rows of seats open. I asked the season ticket holder beside me what was the reason for it… He put it best “We’re not very good… People don’t have time for bad hockey.”

All in all, I had a really great time. Rogers Arena is beautiful place and we had great seats (as you can see from the picture above!! 

11:00pm – Lights out

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WHEAT KINGS OPEN BC TRIP WITH A WIN

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Three players had multi-point nights as the Brandon Wheat Kings snapped a two game losing skid with a 4-3 victory in Victoria.

The Royals came out flying in the first period but missed on several quality chances including a breakaway, two odd-man rushes and a goal post. The tough luck around the goal mouth for the Royals early on would cost them.

Reid Duke (1G-2A) and Tanner Kaspick (1G-1A) scored 0:27 seconds apart late in the first period to give Brandon a quick two goal lead.

However, in typical Brandon fashion they took a penalty on the ensuing shift and handed all the momentum back to the Royals.

Matthew Phillips would convert just 0:21 seconds after the Wheat Kings took the 2-0 lead to cut the lead to one at the first intermission.

Ty Lewis (1G-1A) would give Brandon a 3-1 lead with the lone goal of middle frame. After 40 minutes, Brandon led on the scoreboard and on the shot clock (25-22).

The Royals emerged from the dressing room following the intermission and score 2:02 in off the stick of Matthew Phillips for his 2nd of the night. Phillips would eventually get the hat-trick for the Royals 11:00 later to tie the game up with less than 7:00 remaining.

Brandon would get the eventual game winner on a play that was drawn up by the hockey gods. As the Victoria defensemen went to pass the puck behind his net, it hit the outside of the post and landed right on the stick of former Royals prospect Zach Russell who went five hole for his 2nd goal as a Wheat King.

Victoria would pull the goalie but it wasn’t enough as the Wheat Kings open their seven game road trip with the victory and finish the month of November with a 7-3-1 record.

The club will head to Vancouver tomorrow where they will open up a 3 in 3 weekend vs the Giants. (9:05MB on 880 CKLQ).

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COASTAL REPORT: DAY TWO

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(The BC Legislative building is in the Christmas Spirit)

Day Two of the BWK West Coast Trip

10:00am – The players meet for breakfast. The team is staying at the Grand Pacific Hotel along the water in BC’s Capital City. After breakfast the players are free to walk around and sight see before loading the bus for practice at Save on Foods Memorial Centre.

3:00pm – The Wheat Kings held their 2nd practice of the trip at the home of the Victoria Royals. Tanner Kaspick was back on the ice after missing Wednesday’s game in Saskatoon.
The team skated for just shy of an hour.

7:30pm – Team meal at a local restaurant

10:00pm – Lights Out (Game day tomorrow)

Crowe’s Notes

-Victoria is a BEAUTIFUL city. Assistant Coach Aaron Rome and I walked all over downtown Vic today taking in the sights. The city is fully engaged in Christmas mode with some of the best holiday lighting around. All the buildings and boats in the harbour are all lit up and give it a festive holiday feel.

-The Save on Foods Memorial Centre is one of the nicest WHL facilities i’ve been in. (Aside from Rogers Place in Edmonton). The press / broadcast area is top notch, while Therapist Chris Trivieri had more than enough space in the WHL visiting dressing room area to get set up for a couple of days. Talking with Royals staff, they have had some big crowds this year and with the defending champs in town, it should be another big crowd tomorrow night.

-The weather has been spectacular on so far on this trip (Not to rub it in). You can walk around during the day with a light jacket and of course it cools off near the water at night but it’s much better than trying to dig my Honda Civic out of my driveway in Brandon.

-I have a whole new respect for the Wheat Kings staff and the amount of work that goes into organizing a trip like this. The meals, hotels, ice times, ferry rides and everything else takes a TON of work to plan. Yet for the most part, everything clips along smoothly. It’s a well oiled machine on the surface and its really impressive when I consider how tough it is for me to round up my roommate for lunch once a week… Let alone, taking 23 teenagers across the country for 2 weeks.

-Seven players along with Coach Anning and GM Armstrong spent Monday night in Vancouver with members of the Vancouver Police Service touring the well known “Hastings Street” area of the city. Its a program that most WHL teams take advantage of where the players and staff get a first hand look at one of the most drug and poverty filled areas in the country. Talking with goaltender Jordan Papirny this morning, it was a REAL eye opening experience for the players and something they will never forget.

**I will play David Anning’s comments on the tour during Wednesday’s pre-game show. 

-Finally, back to hockey… congrats to Kale Clague and Nolan Patrick on their WJC Selection Camp invites. Both young men are exceptional talents and I look forward to watching both of them in Red and White this holiday season. Best of luck to both of them!

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GREETINGS FROM THE WEST COAST

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(Myself, Therapist Chris Trivieri and Asst. Coach Don MacGillivray on the deck of the BC Ferry)


**I am posting this from my iPhone… Formatting may not be perfect

It appears the Brandon Wheat Kings know when to get out of town!

The hockey club headed for the West Coast just in time to avoid the snowstorm that blanketed Southwest Manitoba in snow.

Throughout this trip I will post different itinerary or timeline events to show you what goes into a long production of a road trip like this.

Sunday November 27

11:00 am (Brandon, MB) – Wheat Kings load up the bus at Westman Place and leave for Swift Current, SK.

5:00 pm (Swift Current, SK) – Houston’s Restaurant, a popular stop for WHL hockey clubs in Speedy Creek served up a delicious steak and chicken dinner. With nothing but the road ahead of them, the club was back on the bus within 15 minutes.

9:30pm – (Calgary, AB). The team stops and picks up pizzas that have been pre-ordered. This will be the last meal before breakfast Monday morning.

Following the quick pit stop in Calgary, the players will bunk up* and sleep through the night as the two bus drivers take turns sleeping and driving to get us to Tsawwassen, BC on time.

*The bus is equipped with seats that turn into bunk beds. This allows the players to sleep comfortably while the bus travels thru the night.

Monday November 28th

8:00am – The bus arrives in Tsawwassen, BC and stops for breakfast.

9:00am – The Wheat Kings practice at Sun God Arena in Delta, BC (Former minor hockey home of General Manager Grant Armstrong)

3:00pm – Following a quick stop at the mall for lunch and a some free time, the bus loads at the BC Ferries dock and heads for Vancouver Island.

5:15pm (Victoria, BC) – Arrive at the Save on Foods Memorial Centre, unpack the bus and set up the dressing room space for the next two days.

7:15pm (Victoria, BC) – Team Meal

10:00pm (Victoria, BC)- After a long 48 hours of travel, both by bus and by boat it will be an early lights out.

 

 

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