HURRICANES POWERPLAY SINKS WHEAT KINGS

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Photo by Brandi Pollock

Lethbridge, AB (CKLQ) – Special teams was key in game one of the WHL’s Eastern Conference semi-final as the Lethbridge Hurricanes knocked off the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-1 on Friday night.

The Hurricanes scored four powerplay goals and added a short-handed marker to take a 1-0 series lead over the Wheat Kings.

“We didn’t do a good job on the penalty kill at all,” said Head Coach David Anning. “I thought our attention to detail was poor. We lost track of guys and I didn’t think we got into shooting lanes either.”

It was the 2nd time this season the Hurricanes had scored four powerplay goals in a game vs the Wheat Kings. Back on February 23rd, the Hurricanes went a perfect 4 for 4 on the man advantage in a 7-2 win over Brandon. That was the ‘Canes lone win vs the Wheat Kings this year.

Brandon’s Calen Addison (3A) and New York Ranger prospect Brad Morrison (3A), lead the way for the Hurricanes, who got two goal nights from Jordy Bellerive and Taylor Ross.

Marcus Sekundiak scored the lone Wheat King goal, his 3rd of the post-season.

“We have to learn from our mistakes,” added Anning. “Tonight our mistakes were our discipline and our penalty kill. At even strength I thought we did a lot of things well. We’re going to have to tighten up and clean it up, we want to have a better start to the game and play at even strength as much as possible.”

The Wheat Kings and Hurricanes will meet again Saturday night at the Enmax Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m Manitoba Time. The Q Country pre-game show begins at 7:30.

CROWE’S NOTES:

-The Wheat Kings scratched Logan Thompson (Lower Body), Jonny Hooker (Healthy), Ty Ettinger (Healthy) & Baron Thompson (Healthy).

-The Hurricanes had thought the scored at 10:54 of the third period when Dylan Cozens rang one off the crossbar. The Hurricanes celebrated, but after video review it was determined the puck did not cross the line.

-The first fight of the series took place in the third period. Schael Higson and Matthew Stanley dropped the mitts in front of the Hurricanes bench. It’s just the 2nd fight of the post-season for the Wheat Kings.

-Attendance at the Enmax Centre was 4,049.

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

LETH – Taylor Ross (6) (Joseph) 6:23 SHG
LETH – Jordy Bellerive (5) (Morrison, Addison) 9:33 PPG

Shots: 11-10 Brandon

2nd PERIOD

BWK – Marcus Sekundiak (3) (McCartney, Schneider) 6:31
LETH – Jaden Joseph (1) (Barlage, Olsen) 13:15 PPG

Shots: 11-11

3rd PERIOD

LETH – Taylor Ross (7) (Morrison, Addison) 6:20 PPG
LETH – Jordy Bellerive (6) (Morrison, Addison) 14:00 PPG

Final Shots: 35-26

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McCORRISTER THRIVING IN THE POST-SEASON

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Photo by Brandi Pollock

Lethbridge, AB (Westman Journal) – Sports can be a funny thing. The difference from one year to the next can be so drastic it’s hard to believe it’s actually possible. Case in point, Brandon Wheat Kings forward Linden McCorrister.

The 19-year-old from Peguis, Manitoba entered his 3rd season with the Wheat Kings with a number of question marks. Could he stay healthy? Was he an impact player? Where did he fit in this new younger lineup?

After a dismal 2016/17 season in which injuries limited him to just 33 games, McCorrister arrived at training camp in the best shape of his life, and it quickly paid dividends.

McCorrister exploded onto the scene, scoring 20 goals, adding 23 assists in 50 games to set career highs in almost every category possible. His 43 points was good enough for fifth place in the team’s scoring race. As if his regular season outburst wasn’t enough, McCorrister was outstanding for the Wheat Kings in their first round series victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers.

You don’t have to look too hard to see how different a player McCorrister is this time around. Prior to this recent series vs the Tigers, McCorrister had played 24 playoff games, registering two assists while firing just one shot on goal. In six games vs the Tigers, “Lindo” as he is known in the dressing room, registered 23 shots on goal while collecting his team leading eight points (4G-4A).

“He’s been excellent for us,” said Head Coach David Anning.  “We’re in a spot where we rely heavily on him. He’s really responded well and has picked up his game to another level.”

His eight points has him tied with Ty Lewis for first in team playoff scoring. Plus, it was his OT heroics in game six that sent the Wheaties to the 2nd round of the playoffs.

“We felt we had to get to the hard areas in game six especially late in the game. We wanted to get to the goal mouth and get second chances. He drives hard to the net, with his stick on the ice and it was certainly fitting that he scored that goal.”

Despite the regular season success, McCorrister found himself playing with an assortment of linemates down the stretch. After dropping the first two games in the series with the Tigers, McCorrister found himself on a line with Evan Weinger and Connor Gutenberg where the chemistry was almost instantaneous.

“He’s starting to control shifts and do a nice job throughout the game in key situations,” added Anning. “Offensively he’s been contributing right from the start. He’s been excellent and added another element and another look to our group.”

McCorrister will now turn his attention to his team’s second round playoff opponent, the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Injuries held him out of two of the four meetings between the two clubs in the season series, but in the two games he did play he registered a pair of assists and had a +2 rating.

The Wheat Kings and Hurricanes open their series tonight at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge. Puck drop is 8:00 p.m. Manitoba Time. (7:30 pre-game show on Q Country 91.5 FM)

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WHEAT KINGS LOOK TO WEATHER THE STORM

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Photo by Brandi Pollock

Brandon, MB (Westman Journal) – The Brandon Wheat Kings will look to ride the momentum from their 4-2 series win over the Medicine Hat Tigers when they open the WHL’s Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday, April 6 in Lethbridge.

The Wheat Kings showed resilience in the opening round, battling back from down 0-2 in the series to win four straight games and punch their ticket to the 2nd round of the playoffs.

After taming the Tigers, the Wheat King will look to continue their success against Central Division opponents as they meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

I think it will be a difficult matchup for sure,” said Hurricanes Broadcaster Dustin Forbes. “The Hurricanes didn’t have the greatest regular season series with Brandon, but split games with them after the trade deadline after the ‘Canes made all their changes. I think it’s going to be a very entertaining and long series.”

The Hurricanes were one of the busiest team’s at the 2018 trade deadline, trading away the likes of Team Captain Giorgio Estephan, goaltender Stuart Skinner and gritty forward Tanner Nagel. While many thought that General Manager Peter Anholt was waving the white flag, the Hurricanes quickly gelled with a new, younger lineup finishing the year 33-33-6-0, eight points back of the Central Division Champion Tigers.

Despite finishing the season on a dismal 2-10 run, the Hurricanes cruised through the first round, knocking off Red Deer in five games by a combined score of 27-16.

“The team as a whole played terrific hockey against the Rebels but if I had to choose one player who lead the charge it would have to be Brad Morrison,” added Forbes.  “He had 16 points in five games, including a six point effort in the second game. He’s been outstanding so far for the Hurricanes. Jordy Bellerive too, there has been so much talk about Morrison but Bellerive had 10 points in five games as well.”

Brandon won three of four meetings vs the Hurricanes this season, including a pair of shutouts. But in the Hurricanes lone win of the season series, they scored four powerplay goals on route to a 7-2 victory.

“I expect it to be an entertaining series, for sure,” added Forbes. “I think both teams play a pretty exciting and up-tempo style of game. We will be in for a good gunslinger style of series and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes the distance.”

Brandon Wheat Kings Playoff Broadcast Schedule
Semi Final vs Lethbridge Hurricanes

Game 1 – Brandon at Lethbridge – Friday, April 6 | 8:00 MB (7:30 Pre-game)
Game 2 – Brandon at Lethbridge – Saturday, April 7 | 8:00 MB (7:30 Pre-game)
Game 3 – Lethbridge at Brandon – Tuesday, April 10 | 7:00 MB (6:30 Pre-game)
Game 4 – Lethbridge at Brandon – Wednesday, April 11 | 7:00 MB (6:30 Pre-game)

*Game 5 – Brandon at Lethbridge – Friday, April 13 | 8:00 MB (7:30 Pre-game)
*Game 6 – Lethbridge at Brandon – Sunday, April 15 | 4:00 MB (3:30 Pre-game)
*Game 7 – Brandon at Lethbridge – Tuesday, April 17 | 8:00 MB (7:30 Pre-game)

*If Necessary


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McCORRISTER SENDS THE TIGERS PACKING

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Photo by Brandi Pollock 

Dauphin, MB (CKLQ) – If Linden McCorrister ran for the Mayor of Dauphin tomorrow, he’d win in a landslide. The 19-year-old from Peguis, MB played the role of hero on Sunday night scoring twice, including the overtime winner as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Medicine Hat Tigers 4-3. 

The win earns Brandon a 4-2 series win over the Tigers and clinches the Wheat Kings a spot in the Eastern Conference semi-final against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. 

“I thought our guys did a good job throughout the course of the game,” said Head Coach David Anning. “We responded well down 2-0 and found a way to claw back into it in the 2nd period.”

For the fifth time in the series, the Tigers scored first as Mark Rassell beat Dylan Myskiw just 3:37 into the first period. Rassell would add another midway through the 2nd to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. This was the the 2nd consecutive game the Tigers had a 2-0 lead in the 2nd period. 

In a series with dozens of momentum shifts, Zach Wytinck’s 2nd period fight with Baxter Anderson put a charge into the Wheat Kings bench. Just 0:23 after Wytinck and Anderson wrestled to the ice, Stelio Mattheos scored his 3rd of the post-season. 

“There is nothing that comes easy against the Tigers,” said Anning. “It was a real good series that made our club better.”

Just over four minutes later, Evan Weinger elected to shoot on a two-on-one and beat Jordan Hollett over the shoulder to tie the game at two. 

In the 3rd, the Tigers quickly regained momentum. Just 0:34 seconds into the frame Mark Rassell scored his third of the night to put Medicine Hat in front. 

Dylan Myskiw, who was making his 4th straight start stole the show in the third period, turning aside 24 shots including numerous quality scoring chances as the Tigers searched for the insurance marker. 

Myskiw, would finish the night with 52 saves and was named the game’s first start. 

“I thought our goalie (Myskiw) was excellent in the third period,” added Anning. “I thought he did a real good job deflecting shots away from dangerous areas. For as many shots as we gave up we didn’t give up nearly as many scoring chances because of his puck control.”

With just under 9:00 to go in the third period, Linden McCorrister beat Jordan Hollett through the five hole to tie the game at three. 

The goal was McCorrister’s third of the post-season and sent the crowd of 1,255 into a frenzy. 

Both teams went back and forth in the extra frame before McCorrister re-directed home a Braden Schneider pass to send the Wheat Kings to the 2nd round of the WHL Playoffs. 

“I thought we did a real good job in overtime, I thought our guys were organized, we did a good job controlling the pace and tempo and we got everyone on the ice and everyone contributed. It was a real emotional win and it was good for our guys to get the job done.”

As for McCorrister’s performance, his coach tipped his cap once again to his assistant captain. 

“He’s a guy who has really picked up his game and taken it to another level. He’s starting to control shifts and do a nice job in key situations whether its finishing a check or being hard enough on the wall to get the pucks out. He’s been excellent for us.”

The Wheat Kings will now take a few days to reset from a travel filled series with games over 800 KM’s apart in Medicine Hat and Dauphin. Brandon will likely open round two on Friday night at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge. A full series schedule with broadcast details will be announced this week. 

CROWE’S NOTES:

-The Wheat Kings scratched Logan Thompson (Lower Body), Jonny Hooker (Upper Body), Baron Thompson (Healthy) & Ty Ettinger (Healthy).

-McCorrister’s 2nd goal of the night was his first overtime game winner of the season.

-Brandon is now 11-3 in overtime this year, including the regular season

-Attendance at Credit Union Place was 1,255

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

MH – Mark Rassell (6) (Quenneville) 3:37

Shots: 14-13 Brandon

2nd PERIOD

M.H – Mark Rassell (7) (White, Ostir) 10:10
BWK – Stelio Mattheos (3) (Lewis, Burzan) 11:53
BWK – Evan Weinger (2) (Gutenberg) 15:57

Shots: 14-12 Medicine Hat

3rd PERIOD

M.H – Mark Rassell (8) (Chyzowski, Quenneville) 0:34
BWK – Linden McCorrister (3) (Weinger, Gutenberg) 11:51

Shots: 25-10 Medicine Hat

OVERTIME

BWK – Linden McCorrister (4) (Schneider) 10:37

Final Shots: 55-46 Medicine Hat

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WHEAT KINGS TAKE SERIES LEAD!

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Photo by Brandi Pollock

Medicine Hat, AB (CKLQ) – The Brandon Wheat Kings will have a chance to clinch a spot in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final on Sunday after a 5-2 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers in Game Five on Friday night.

The Wheat Kings got multi-point nights from four different players and 28 saves from Dylan Myskiw on route to their third straight victory.

“We’re getting contributions up and down the lineup and that’s certainly positive, you need that this time of year,” said Wheat Kings Head Coach David Anning.

For the fourth time in the series, the Tigers opened the scoring… or so they though. Jaeger White tucked home a loose puck into an open net and sent the crowd into a frenzy but the referee emphatically waved it off. Dylan Myskiw’s mask had come off prior to the puck crossing the goal line, meaning no goal.

The controversy wouldn’t deter the Tigers though, the opened the scoring at 9:14 as Ryan Chyzowski snapped one off the post and in for his 3rd of the post-season.

In the 2nd period, the Tigers took an early 2-0 lead. Just 0:33 into the period, Ryan Chyzowski potted his 2nd of the night and 4th of the post-season.

The Wheat Kings would respond on the powerplay. Ty Lewis netted his 4th of the season on a rebound in front, Lewis now has an, even strength, a powerplay and a shorthanded goal in this series.

Before the period would end, the Wheat Kings would tie it. Luka Buzan re-directed a Schael Higson point shot past Jordan Hollett. The goal capped off a period in which the Wheat Kings outshot the Tigers 15-6.

“I thought in the final sixteen minutes of the second period we did a real good job and controlled the play and played in the offensive zone a lot,” said David Anning. “We had guys going to the hard areas and going to the net, that generated a lot of scoring chances for us.”

The Wheat Kings came out flying in the third, scoring a pair of goals in the opening 2:06. Connor Gutenberg would score just 0:19 into the third as he finished off a 2on1 pass from Evan Weinger. Then, just a few moments later Linden McCorrister banged home a rebound on the powerplay to give Brandon a 4-2 lead.

The Tigers would pull the goalie for the extra attacker but Stelio Mattheos would put the icing on the cake and bury his 2nd of the playoffs in the open net.

The Wheat Kings penalty kill didn’t have a lot to do on Friday night, killing off just one Tiger chance, but going back to game four, the Wheat Kings have now killed off six straight penalties.

Dylan Myskiw earned his third straight victory, turning aside 28 shots, while Jordan Hollett took the loss, making 21 saves in the Tiger goal.

“The fourth game is the hardest one to win and you’re trying to put your opponent out. We expect their best on Sunday and we will need a big effort,” added Anning. “Right now we’re doing a lot of things well so we can lean on the fact that we’re on the same page and we’re executing well.

Game six of this series goes Sunday back in Dauphin at Credit Union Place. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00, our QCountry pre-game show begins at 6:30.

CROWE’S NOTES:

-The Wheat Kings scratched Logan Thompson (Lower Body), Baron Thompson (Coaches Decision), Ty Ettinger (Coaches Decision), & Jonny Hooker (Upper Body). L.Thompson has served his three game suspension and is eligible to return to the series.

-The Tigers had a goal disallowed in the first period. Dylan Myskiw’s mask had come off during the play, prior to Jaeger White tucking the puck into the open net. 

-Attendance at the Canalta Centre was 3,509.

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

M.H – Ryan Chyzowski (3) (Quennville, Preziuso) 9:14

Shots: 8-6 Medicine Hat

2nd PERIOD

M.H – Ryan Chyzowski (4) (Preziuso, Jevne) 0:33
BWK – Ty Lewis (4) (Mattheos, Gutenberg) 5:52 PPG
BWK – Luka Burzan (2) (Higson, Lewis) 17:01

Shots: 15-6 Brandon

3rd PERIOD

BWK – Connor Gutenberg (2) (Weinger, McCorrister) 0:19
BWK – Linden McCorrister (2) (Higson, Lewis) 2:06 PPG
BWK – Stelio Mattheos (2) (Lewis) 19:20 ENG

Final Shots: 31-26 Brandon

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WHEAT KINGS EVEN THE SERIES!

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Photo by Brandi Pollock

Dauphin, MB (CKLQ) – The Brandon Wheat Kings thrilled the crowd in Dauphin on Wednesday night with a 5-3 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers. The win even’s the WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final at two games a piece.

The Wheat Kings came out flying in the first period, firing 16 shots at the Tiger goal. That the most 1st period shots the Wheat Kings have had in this series so far.

Once again, the 4th line created the offense for Brandon as Ben McCartney fed Daniel Bukac, who snapped home his first goal of the series. Bukac’s goal was the first time Brandon has opened the scoring in the series.

Just 1:11 later, Stelio Mattheos carried the puck over the Tiger line and sent the water bottle flying as he beat Michael Bullion over the shoulder to give Brandon a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.

In the 2nd, Brandon’s special teams was key. The Wheat Kings got just their 2nd powerplay goal of the series when Cole Reinhart tapped home a rebound, opening up a 3-0 lead.

The Tigers would respond however as Josh Williams beat Dylan Myskiw with a wrist shot to spoil the shutout bid.

The Wheat Kings would seal the game in the third period with goals from Linden McCorrister and Gunnar Wegleitner. Wegleitner, finished the night with a goal and an assist and was named the game’s 3rd star.

Dylan Myskiw picked up his 2nd consecutive victory, making 38 saves for Brandon while Michael Bullion stopped 31 shots in his first appearance of the series.

The Wheat Kings penalty kill was a perfect five for five on the night while the Tigers allowed one powerplay goal on just two opportunities.

Game five of this series will be played on Friday at the Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat. (8:30 MB time puck drop)

CROWE’S NOTES:

-Baron Thompson served the 3rd and final game of his suspension tonight. He is now eligible to return to the Wheat Kings lineup for Game #5.

-The Wheat Kings scratched Logan Thompson (Lower Body), Baron Thompson (Susp), Ty Ettinger (Healthy) & Jonny Hooker (Upper Body).

-Gunnar Wegleitner, Cole Reinhardt, Daniel Bukac and Linden McCorrister each scored their first career WHL Playoff goals in Game #4.

-Attendance at Credit Union Place was 1,271.

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

BWK – Daniel Bukac (1) (McCartney, Wegleitner) 17:39
BWK – Stelio Mattheos (1) (Schneider) 18:50

Shots: 16-7 Brandon

2nd PERIOD

BWK – Cole Reinhardt (1) (Shearer, Weinger) 10:34 PPG
M.H – Josh Williams (2) (Quenneville, Gally) 16:59

Shots: 16-12 Medicine Hat

3rd PERIOD

BWK – Linden McCorrister (1) (Unassisted) 2:48
M.H – Mark Rassell (5) (Unassisted) 5:41
BWK – Gunnar Wegleitner (1) (Unassisted) 10:12

Final Shots: 40-36 Medicine Hat

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WE’VE GOT A SERIES!!! WHEAT KINGS BEAT TIGERS 5-3

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Photo by Brandi Pollock

Dauphin, MB (CKLQ) – The Brandon Wheat Kings earned an important Game #3 victory on Tuesday night, knocking off the Medicine Hat Tigers 5-3 at Dauphin’s Credit Union Place.

For the third straight night, the Wheat Kings found themselves trailing early. The Tigers, who scored six first period goals combined in the first two games of the series got on the board just 5:16 as Mark Rassell (4) beat Dylan Myskiw for his 8th point of the series.

In what could be considered the turning point of the game, Ty Lewis beat Jordan Hollett with a wrist shot with just 0:08 seconds left on the clock in the first period.

Connor Gutenberg gave Brandon their first lead of the series, just 3:00 into the middle frame but it was short-lived. Gary Haden responded for the Tigers, sending the game into the 2nd intermission tied at two.

After a Jaeger White powerplay goal gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead just 5:41 into the final period the Wheat Kings responded with two goals in a matter of 18 seconds.

Ben McCartney earned his 2nd career playoff goal on a fabulous individual effort, stealing the puck from Dalton Gally and burying the wrap-around inside the post.

Before the public address announcer could rattle off the McCartney goal, Evan Weinger took a feed from Linden McCorrister and went upstairs on Hollett for his 1st of the series.

Ty Lewis will seal the deal with his 2nd of the night late in the third to lift the Wheat Kings to their first playoff victory in seven tries, dating back to last year.

Dylan Myskiw picked up his first career playoff victory, turning aside 32 Tiger shots while Hollett stopped 30 of 35.

Game four of this series will go Wednesday night back at Credit Union Place. (7:30 MB Time on QCountry 91.5)

CROWE’S NOTES

-Logan Thompson did not dress on Tuesday night. He left game #2 late in the third period after being tended to by Athletic Therapist Chris Trivieri. 16-year-old Ethan Kruger who has been with the club since the end of the regular season was the backup to Dylan Myskiw.

-The WHL announced on Tuesday that FWD Baron Thompson will serve a three game suspension for his Game #1 hit on Dylan McPherson. Thompson sat out Game #2 and tonight. The Lakeville, MN native will sit out Wednesday’s Game #4 as well.

-The Wheat Kings scratched Ty Ettinger (Healthy), Jonny Hooker (Upper Body), Logan Thompson (Upper Body) & Baron Thompson (Suspension).

-Attendance at Credit Union Place was 1,247.

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

M.H – Mark Rassell (4) (Lockner, Quenneville) 5:16
BWK – Ty Lewis (2) (Unassisted) 19:52

Shots:12-9 Brandon

2nd PERIOD

BWK – Connor Gutenberg (1) (McCorrister, Higson) 3:00
M.H – Gary Haden (2) (Clayton, White) 13:11

Shots: 11-10 Brandon

3rd PERIOD

M.H – Jaeger White (2) (Quennville, Rassell) 5:41 PPG
BWK – Ben McCartney (1) (Unassisted) 6:23
BWK – Evan Weinger (1) (McCorrister, Shearer) 6:41
BWK – Ty Lewis (3) (Burzan, Schneider) 18:18

Final Shots: 35-33

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