WHEAT KINGS PLAYOFF HOPES ON LIFE SUPPORT

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Photo by Brandi Crowe

Brandon, MB (CKLQ) – The Moose Jaw Warriors used a three-goal first period on route to a 6-2 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Wednesday night.

It was not a great start for the Wheat Kings who found themselves in an early hole, down 1-0 just 3:46 seconds into the game.

After the Wheat Kings failed to convert on their first powerplay, the Warriors quickly made their way back into the Brandon zone and the two European’s connected as Yegor Buyalski put the Warriors up 1-0.

Moments later, WHL rookie leading scorer Brayden Tracey scored a highlight reel goal, burning Neithan Salame wide and tucking home his 35th of the year past Jiri Patera on a beautiful deke.

Things when from bad to worse for Brandon as the Warriors added a powerplay goal just minutes later. Justin Almeida connected with Tristan Langan on the back door and his 51st of the season put the Warriors up 3-0.

Despite the circumstances, the Wheat Kings didn’t fold the tent after the 3-0 goal, and in fact responded with a goal of their own just 0:24 later. This time it was Stelio Mattheos with the highlight reel goal to give Brandon some life and put a stop to the Moose Jaw momentum.

The scoring stopped in the 2nd period as both teams skated to a scoreless 2nd. Moose Jaw outshot Brandon 9-4 in the middle frame, with the teams trading chances at both ends.

Caiden Daley brought Brandon within one early in the third period but moments later an innocent looking point shot from Brandonite Daemon Hunt tipped in past Patera off the stick of Braydyn Chizen. The fluke goal would restore the two-goal lead for Moose Jaw.

Despite outshooting the Warriors 16-10 in the third period, the Wheat Kings couldn’t mount a comeback and Moose Jaw would ice it with a pair of late empty-net goals to secure the victory and put the Wheat Kings playoff hopes on life support.

The loss combined with the Medicine Hat Tigers win over Red Deer tonight clinches the Tigers a playoff spot. That leaves Brandon and Red Deer fighting for the remaining wild-card position.

The most points Brandon can end up with is 72 (By beating Regina twice), meaning that a single Red Deer point (Moving them to 73 pts) in the final two games vs Lethbridge and Kootenay will eliminate Brandon from playoff contention.

If Red Deer and Brandon both end up with 72 points, upon completion of the WHL Regular Season, it would set up a one-game single elimination scenario with the winner moving on to face the #1 seeded Prince Albert Raiders.

The Wheat Kings head to Regina on Friday for a date with the Pats. Game time at the Brandt Centre in Regina is 8:00 MB time, the QCountry pre-game show goes live at 7:30)

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

MJ – Yegor Buyalski (6) (Stepanov) 3:46
MJ – Brayden Tracey (35) (Unassisted) 12:56
MJ – Tristan Langan (51) (Almeida, Brook) 14:30 PPG
BWK – Stelio Mattheos (44) (Burzan, Iorio) 14:54

Shots: 12-11 Moose Jaw

2nd PERIOD

No Scoring

Shots: 9-4 Moose Jaw

3rd PERIOD

BWK – Caiden Daley (9) (Sekundiak, Nychuk) 1:41
MJ – Daemon Hunt (6) (Denomie) 5:53
MJ – Dalton Hamaluik (4) (Woo) 17:59 ENG
MJ – Cameron Sterling (1) (Sekunda) 18:31 ENG

Final Shots: 31-31

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WHEAT KINGS DROP ROAD TRIP FINALE

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Photo by Brandi Crowe

Medicine Hat, AB (CKLQ) – The Brandon Wheat Kings fell 4-2 to the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday night.

In the finale of a season-long road trip, the Wheat Kings found themselves in an early hole off the strength of a Tigers powerplay goal.

With Ben McCartney in the box for slashing, Ryan Jevne made the Wheat Kings pay as he potted his 29th of the year to open the scoring.

On the ensuing shift, Stelio Mattheos found a loose puck in front of the Tiger goal and ripped his 43rd of the year past Mads Sogaard to tie the game just 0:28 seconds after the Tigers jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

Late in the period, with the Tigers on another powerplay, Brett Kemp had a tap-in but out of nowhere, Marcus Sekundiak slid across the crease and took aware a sure goal for the Tigers to keep the game tied at the intermission.

The Tigers would take a 2-1 lead midway through the 2nd as Ryan Chyzowski finished off an odd-man rush for his 24th of the year.

Then, with Brandon on the powerplay Ryan Jevne sent a hail mary clearing attempt out of the Tigers zone, the bouncing puck fooled Jiri Patera who had come out to play the puck. The shorthanded goal put the Tigers up by two.

Despite the ugly goal, Brandon stuck with it and responded on the same powerplay chance. Chad Nychuk hammered home a point shot for his 2nd goal in as many nights to get Brandon back within one at the intermission.

Medicine Hat would put the game out of reach with the lone goal of the third period. Winnipeg, MB native Hayden Ostir fired a seeing-eye shot past Patera to put the Tigers up 4-2 and lift them to an all-important 33rd victory of the season.

The win gives the Tigers 72 points on the year, four up on the Wheat Kings and into a tie with the Red Deer Rebels (72 points) who beat Kootenay tonight as well. Brandon remains on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, now four points back of both the Rebels and Tigers.

After 11-days, 6-games and 3,980 kilometers, this Central Division road trip finally comes to a close with the Wheat Kings finishing with a record of 1-4-1-0. Brandon’s next action is Wednesday night vs Moose Jaw in the final “Rain Check” night of the season. (7:00 on QCountry Radio).

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

M.H – Ryan Jevne (29) (Kemp, Hamblin) 16:16 PPG
BWK – Stelio Mattheos (43) (Burzan, McCorrister) 16:44

Shots: 10-9 Medicine Hat

2nd PERIOD

M.H – Ryan Chyzowski (24) (Jevne, Kemp) 7:53
M.H – Ryan Jevne (30) (Unassisted) 12:53 SHG
BWK – Chad Nychuk (3) (Greig, Schneider) 13:22 PPG

Shots: 13-12 Brandon

3rd PERIOD

M.H – Hayden Ostier (11) (Unassisted) 13:33

Final Shots: 34-30 Medicine Hat

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REBELS MOUNT FURIOUS COMEBACK IN 5-3 WIN

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Photo by Byron Hackett – Red Deer Advocate

Red Deer, AB (CKLQ) – The Red Deer Rebels scored five unanswered goals on Friday night on route to a 5-3 come from behind victory at the Centrium.

It was a tight first period with both teams exchanging chances, but it was the Wheat Kings would draw first blood.

Just after the first Brandon powerplay expired, Ben McCartney took a pass from Ridly Greig and snapped his 20th of the season over the shoulder of Ethan Anders to give Brandon the 1-0 lead.

The Wheat Kings came out flying to start the second period, scoring twice in the first 2:40.

Stelio Mattheos picked up his 42nd of the year from Burzan and Reinhardt. Chad Nychuk would follow that up 1:04 later with his 2nd of the year on a seeing-eye point shot to open up a commanding lead.

Midway through the period, the Rebels would get on the board on a controversial goal.

Stelio Mattheos and Reese Johnson were tangled up behind the play and it appeared that the official had blown the whistle and signaled for coincidental minors. However, at the same time, Brandon Hagel fired a wrist shot past Jiri Patera and sent the crowd into a frenzy, The sound from the crowd drowned out the back referee and it came down to “Which ref blew his whistle first?”

After discussing the play, the officials ruled a good goal, much to the chagrin of the Brandon bench.

Cue the comeback.

The Rebels who had just four wins in 27 games in which they trailed after 40 minutes mounted a furious comeback in the third to earn the important two points.

First, it was Cam Hausinger, finishing off a nice passing play with Reese Johnson.

Less than two minutes later, the Rebels would tie it on Josh Tarzwell’s ninth of the season as he scored short side off the rush down the left wing side.

A scary moment late in the third as Ben McCartney and Alex Alexeyev collided inside the Rebels zone. The Russian import went down in a heap and had to be carried off on a stretcher with what appeared to be a left knee/leg injury.

Just moments after the long medical delay, Austin, MB’s Zak Smith gave the Rebels the lead with just 3:27 left in the game.

Brandon pulled the goalie and pushed for the equalizer but Oleg Zaitsev would seal the victory for the Rebels into the heart of the empty net to complete the four-goal third-period outburst and give the Rebels the win.

With the win, the Rebels move to 70 points, into a tie with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the #1 Wild-Card spot. The Tigers loss tonight in Lethbridge. Brandon now finds themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, heading into the final game of this six-game road trip.

Brandon will wrap up this trek on Saturday in Medicine Hat. (8:30MB puck drop on QCountry Radio.)

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

BWK – Ben McCartney (20) (Greig) 3:48

Shots: 8-7 Red Deer

2nd PERIOD

BWK – Stelio Mattheos (42) (Burzan, Reinhardt) 1:36
BWK – Chad Nychuk (2) (Unassisted) 2:40
R.D. – Brandon Hagel (39) (De Wit, Sakowich) 9:03

Shots: 8-7 Red Deer

3rd PERIOD

R.D. – Cam Hausinger (18) (Johnson) 10:45
R.D. – Josh Tarzwell (9) (Davis, Barteaux) 12:30
R.D. – Zak Smith (11) (Zaitsev) 16:33
R.D. – Oleg Zaitsev (13) (Unassisted) 19:59

Final Shots: 31-20 Red Deer

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HURRICANES CLINCH A PLAYOFF SPOT WITH A WIN OVER BRANDON

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Photo by Brandi Crowe

Lethbridge, AB (CKLQ) – The Lethbridge Hurricanes got 27 saves from Carl Tetachuk and a two-goal performance from Jake Leschyshyn on route to a 4-1 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Wednesday night.

It was a bit of a slow start for Brandon in the first period, but Jiri Patera picked up where he left off in Kootenay making 10 saves in the opening frame, including a stretch where Brandon was outshot 8-1.

A solid penalty kill late in the period have Brandon some momentum and the Wheat Kings forced ‘Canes netminder Carl Tetachuk to make a number of big saves to keep the game scoreless after one.

An early powerplay in the 2nd period did not go as planned and the Hurricanes capitalized. Early in the powerplay Luka Burzan had a puck deflect off his face. Unfortunately, as he slowly limped to the bench, Brandon found themselves in a four on four situations for well over 15 seconds before they could get a replacement onto the ice.

Moments later, Zach Wytinck fell down as he retreated to get a puck below the Brandon goal line. Dylan Cozens quickly sent the puck in front and Jake Elmer made no mistake burying his 37th of the year to open the scoring.

Just over two minutes later, the Hurricanes added another. This time it was Jake Leschyshyn who finished off a nifty passing play from Nick Henry and Zach Stringer to give the ‘Canes a 2-0 lead.

Late in the period, a questionable tripping call on Ridly Greig sent the Hurricanes to the powerplay. Just nine seconds into the man advantage Leschyshyn would pop in the insurance marker to put the home team comfortably in front 3-0 at the 2nd intermission.

In the third, Zach Stringer found the back of the net for his first career WHL goal. That tally capped off a two-point night for the 15-year-old rookie and put the Hurricanes up 4-0.

Luka Burzan would add a goal while skating 4on4 but that was a close as the Wheat Kings would get to mounting a comeback. The win secures the Hurricanes a playoff spot and moves them back into a tie for top spot in the Central Division with the Edmonton Oil Kings. (82 points).

Meanwhile, in Medicine Hat, the Tigers earned a single point in an OT loss to the Calgary Hitmen. That moves them to 70 points, two points up on both Brandon and Red Deer for the #1 wild-card spot.

Brandon got a boost to the lineup on Wednesday night as 20-year-old forward Linden McCorrister made his return to the team. He had missed the previous five games with an upper-body injury. He finished the night -1 with one shot on goal.

The Wheat Kings will get a day of rest on Thursday before taking on the Red Deer Rebels on Friday night. (8:00 MB time on QCountry Radio)

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

No Scoring

Shots: 10-8 Lethbridge

2nd PERIOD

LETH – Jake Elmer (37) (Cozens, Palivko) 5:36 SHG
LETH – Jake Leschyshyn (36) (Henry, Stringer) 7:35
LETH – Jake Leschyshyn (37) (Henry, Addison) 19:44 PPG

Shots: 18-12 Lethbridge

3rd PERIOD

LETH – Zach Stringer (1) (Barlage, Elmer) 10:16
BWK – Luka Burzan (38) (Mattheos, Salame) 11:09 4on4

Final Shots: 38-28 Lethbridge

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GOODBYE CRANBROOK

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Cranbrook, BC (CKLQ) – Jiri Patera made 29 saves for his first career WHL shutout in a 7-0 win over the Kootenay ICE on Tuesday night.

Looking for their first win in Cranbrook since the 15/16 season, the Brandon Wheat Kings got off to a quick start, in the third game of their six-game road trip.

Baron Thompson opened the scoring, wiring his 7th of the year over the shoulder of ICE netminder Jesse Makaj. With an assist on the goal, Caiden Daley extends his point-scoring streak to five games.

Late in the period, the Wheat Kings top line snapped a streak of over 220 minutes without a point as Cole Reinhardt set up Luka Burzan who hammered home his 36th of the year to put Brandon up 2-0.

The Wheat Kings opened the flood gates in the 2nd period, adding three more to take a 5-0 lead in the locker room after 40 minutes.

First, it was Ridly Greig tapping home his 14th of the year. After Ben McCartney was stopped on a breakaway, the puck rattled around inside the Kootenay end and landed on the stick of Greig who made no mistake to put Brandon up 3-0.

Baron Thompson would pick up his 2nd of the night just two minutes later, followed by a Stelio Mattheos goal to put Brandon comfortably in front heading to the third period.

Patera, who was making his 11th straight start turned aside all five shots he faced in the 3rd period, as the Wheat Kings defense helped lock down the goose egg with a solid final 20.

Luka Burzan and Connor Gutenberg would add third-period goals for Brandon who snap a three-game losing streak and move into a tie with Red Deer for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Brandon’s last win in Cranbrook came during the championship season, a 3-2 win on February 24, 2016.

The Wheat Kings first ever trip to Western Financial Place came on December 29th, 2000. Jiri Jakes scored the lone Wheat King goal in a 4-1 loss in front of 4002 fans. Dan Blackburn made 44 saves for the ICE.

Brandon will continue this six-game road trip Wednesday night in Lethbridge. Game time is 8:00 MB time (7:30 pre-game show on QCountry Radio).

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

BWK – Baron Thompson (7) (Daley, Schneider) 9:11
BWK – Luka Burzan (36) (Reinhardt, Nychuk) 16:06

Shots: 12-11 Kootenay

2nd PERIOD

BWK – Ridly Greig (14) (McCartney, Iorio) 10:38
BWK – Baron Thompson (8) (Chizen, Hooker) 12:51

Shots: 12-12

3rd PERIOD

BWK – Luka Burzan (37) (Unassisted) 12:41
BWK – Connor Gutenberg (15) (Greig, McCartney) 19:04

Final Shots: 35-29 Brandon

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OIL KINGS THUMP WHEATIES

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Photo by Brandi Crowe

Edmonton, AB (CKLQ) – The Edmonton Oil Kings regained sole possession of first place in the Central Division with a 7-1 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday night.

It was another tough start for the Wheat Kings who found themselves down 1-0 midway through the first period. After coming up empty-handed on an early powerplay, Vinny Iorio took a cross-checking penalty and sent the Oil Kings to the man advantage.

On the ensuing powerplay, Andrew Fyten snapped home his 18th of the year to open the scoring.

With just 0:27 left in the period, the European connection weaved into the zone and Andrei Pavlenko finished off a nice passing play to put the Oil Kings up 2-0.

The Oil Kings continued to roll in the 2nd period, scoring three times in a span of 4:15, jumping out to a 5-0 lead midway through the hockey game.

Brandon had a quick start to the 2nd period, outshooting the Oil Kings 5-1 before Edmonton turned on the afterburners and dominated possession for the majority of the period.

Ethan Kruger came on in relief for Jiri Patera after the 5th Oil Kings goal. Patera, who was making his 9th straight start made 23 saves on 28 shots. Kruger finished with 15 saves on 18 shots.

Edmonton kept the onslaught coming into the third period as they scored twice just 5:07 into the frame to open up a 7-0 lead.

Brandon would spoil the shutout bid for Dylan Myskiw as Caiden Daley scored his 2nd goal in as many games to put Brandon on the board, but it was a close to a comeback as the Wheat Kings could muster. Myskiw earned his 2nd straight victory, making 17 saves.

One night after dressing 11 forwards and 7 defensemen, Brandon shifted Jonny Lambos to the fourth line where took several shifts as a forward. It was the first time in his WHL career he had spent time up front.

Brandon will load up and travel to Cranbrook tonight and begin preparations for their final meeting with the Kootenay ICE before the relocate to Winnipeg next season. That game takes place Tuesday night at Western Financial Place. (8:00 MB on QCountry Radio)

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

EOK – Andrew Fyten (18) (Fix-Wolansky, MacDonald) 6:09 PPG
EOK – Andrei Pavlenko (9) (Alistrov, McLeod) 19:32

Shots: 15-5 Edmonton

2nd PERIOD

EOK – Carter Souch (10) (Loschiavo, Gavlas) 5:25
EOK – David Kope (14) (Fix-Wolansky, Gavlas) 8:14
EOK – Wyatt McLeod (4) (Williams) 9:40

Shots: 17-12 Edmonton

3rd PERIOD

EOK – Vince Loschiavo (31) (Souch, Gavlas) 2:10
EOK – Quinn Benjafield (13) (Souch, Robertson) 5:07
BWK – Caiden Daley (8) (Chizen, Nychuk) 7:56

Final Shots: 45-29 Edmonton

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BWK EARN A SINGLE POINT IN OT LOSS IN CALGARY

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Photo by Brandi Crowe

Calgary, AB (CKLQ) – Jiri Patera stood on his head, but the Calgary Hitmen got the extra point in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night.

It was not the start the Wheat Kings wanted as they opened up a six-game road trip at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Brandon didn’t register their first shot until 13:02 into the period as they were hemmed in their own end for the majority of the frame.

The Hitmen outshot Brandon 20-4 and appeared to open the scoring when Vladislav Yeryomenko tucked home a rebound for his 6th of the year. After all four officials met at center ice, it was ruled that Carson Focht had interfered with Jiri Patera and didn’t allow him to make an attempt on the save. The goal was waved off and kept the game scoreless.

Patera, who was making his eighth consecutive start, would make 39 saves on the night, including all 20 in the first period.

Calgary would open the scoring in the 2nd period as former Vancouver Giant James Malm found himself in the right spot at the right time. Malm took a shot off the end boards and beat Patera to the near post for his 28th of the year.

Connor Gutenberg, who aside from Patera was the best player on the ice for Brandon on Friday got the Wheat Kings on the board midway through the frame. Gutenberg poked the puck off the stick of Egor Zamula and walked in alone, beating Jack McNaughton over the shoulder for his 14th of the season.

Just six minutes later, with the teams skating four on four, Caiden Daley dangled his way into the Calgary end and squeaked his 7th of the year through the five-hole of McNaughton to give Brandon their first lead of the game.

The lone goal of the third period came on the powerplay as Mark Kastelic found the back of the net for the 44th time this year to tie the game up at three.

In overtime, Luke Coleman and Riley Stotts crashed the crease and Stotts, the Winnipeg, MB native would find the loose puck and bury the game-winner into the empty net to give the Hitmen the extra point in their 33rd win of the season.

The win gives Calgary 72 points and keeps them comfortably in the #3 spot in the Central Division. Meanwhile, Edmonton beat Medicine Hat and Red Deer fell in a shootout in Prince Albert. This means the Rebels are in sole possession of the #1 Wildcard spot, while Brandon sits one point back of the Tigers for the #2 Wildcard spot.

Brandon began the road trip with just 20 players and played with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen on Friday. Lynden McCallum is out long term with an upper-body injury while Linden McCorrister is day-to-day with an upper-body injury as well.

The Wheat Kings will continue this 3,980 KM road trip in Edmonton on Saturday night vs the Oil Kings. Game time from Rogers Place is 8:00 MB time (7:30 pre-game show on QCountry Radio)

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

No Scoring

Shots: 20-4 Calgary

2nd PERIOD

CGY – James Malm (28) (Van De Leest, Stotts) 3:48
BWK – Connor Gutenberg (14) (Unassisted) 8:03
BWK – Caiden Daley (7) (Chizen) 14:23 4on4

Shots: 10-10

3rd PERIOD

CGY – Mark Kastelic (44) (Focht, Zamula) 7:59 PPG

Shots: 10-6 Calgary

OVERTIME

CGY – Riley Stotts (19) (Coleman, Zamula) 2:09

Final Shots: 42-21 Calgary

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