Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Wheat Kings Face Must-Win Wednesday

Nolan Patrick
  It’s a must-win situation for the Brandon Wheat Kings Wednesday night as they face off with the Red Deer Rebels in their final round-robin game at the 2016 Memorial Cup (6:40 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

  The Wheat Kings haven’t performed very well in their opening two games, being outscored 14-4 while losing both.

  That includes giving up seven goals in the first period alone.

  However, Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon says they can only look forward.

  “We can’t look backward and feel sorry for ourselves, we have to look forward and be excited about the challenge of winning Wednesday and moving on,” said McCrimmon on Tuesday, “That’s how it has to be.  You have to have short memories in situations like this.”

  The Wheat Kings do have the added benefit of meeting a team they’re very familiar with.

  Wednesday’s game is a rematch of the WHL’s Eastern Conference Final, and the tenth time that Brandon and Red Deer have met this season.

  “It’s an advantage that we’ve played a playoff series against this team,” said Brandon centre Nolan Patrick, “You know their tendancies, you know their players a lot more.  We’re still a confident group, we haven’t played nearly our best.”

  A Brandon win Wednesday would create a three-way tie for second-place, with Red Deer, Rouyn-Noranda and the Wheat Kings finishing at 1-and-2.

  The tiebreaker would then be a formula of Goals For plus Goals Against divided into Goals For in the games involving the three tied teams.

  Despite that scenario, the bottom line for the Wheat Kings is that if they win, they will play another game.

Chaff...London clinched first-place and a bye into Sunday’s Final with a 4-2 win over Rouyn-Noranda on Tuesday...the Canadian Hockey League and Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) announced an expanded partnership Tuesday that will bring the Talk Today program across the CHL.  Talk Today has been in place in the OHL since October of 2014...Wheat Kings’ 2016 first round pick Braden Schneider was among the spectators at Monday’s game against London...Brandon F Reid Duke, a 6th round pick if Minnesota in 2014, has until June 1st to sign with the Wild or he’ll re-enter the draft.  However, signing is only one option, according to the StarTribune...some Brandon staff members and myself were able to tour the RCMP Dog Training Centre in nearby Innisfail on Tuesday.  There are some pictures below...


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Knights Roll over Brandon at Memorial Cup

Stelio Mattheos had Brandon's only goal on Monday
The London Knights jumped out to a 4-0 first period lead and cruised to a 9-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings at the 2016 Memorial Cup on Monday night.

  Christian Dvorak had three goals and an assist for pace the Knights offensively, while Mitch Marner added four assists.

  London jumped out to a 4-0 first period lead including Dvorak opening the scoring on the power-play 4 ½ minutes into the opening frame – the first of four power-play goals the Knights would score in the contest.

  Brandon is now 0-and-2 at the tournament, putting the Wheat Kings into a must-win situation in their final round-robin game on Wednesday night against Red Deer.

  “We need to start playing hockey.  We haven’t played close to how we can play.   We’re here for a reason, it’s not fluke,” said Brandon forward Jayce Hawryluk on CKLQ’s post-game show, “We have to start showing that we can play some hockey because, right now, we haven’t done that.  Wednesday, we’re going to look to find our game and build off that.”

  “We have not got going yet,” added Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, “Obviously, the losses are the most disappointing but right along with that, the fact we haven’t played well.”

  Brandon is now 7-13 all-time at the Memorial Cup, and the Wheat Kings have been outscored 27-5 in their last three meetings with OHL Champions at the tournament.

Chaff...London’s nine goals were two short of the Memorial Cup record of of those 11-goal games came in 1980, when Regina defeated the Cornwall Royals 11-2.  The Royals would recover to win the Memorial Cup that year...London has now won 15 straight games...Brandon’s scratches Monday were F Garrett Armour, F Caiden Daley and F/D Mark Matsuba...Tuesday’s game features London against Rouyn-Noranda, with the Knights having a chance to clinch first-place and a bye to Sunday’s final with a win...the formula to determine placement in the case of a three-way tie for 2nd-place would be Goals For + Goals Against divided into Goals For within games involving the tied teams. That means Brandon still would have a chance to finish second if Rouyn-Noranda loses Tuesday and the Wheat Kings beat Red Deer Wednesday by at least three goals (at least, that’s how I have it figured out).


Monday, 23 May 2016

Knights, Wheat Kings Meet Monday

Tim McGauley (photo courtesy Rob Wallator/CHL)
  The Brandon Wheat Kings face off with the London Knights Monday night in their second game at the 2016 Memorial Cup in Red Deer (6:40 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

  The teams are coming off different results in their tournament openers, with the Knights rolling to a 6-2 win over host Red Deer on Friday night and Brandon dropping a 5-3 decision to Rouyn-Noranda on Saturday.

  That Saturday night loss included a strong third period for the Wheat Kings that saw them outshoot the Huskies 20-4 and score the only two goals.

  Brandon centre Tim McGauley says the team will need to build off that in Monday’s contest.

  “We have to build off the positives that we had our last game.  It wasn’t the game we really wanted but I thought our third period was really strong so we want to build off that and keeping going,” said McGauley, “Our team is ready for this next challenge.  We know we have to play our best...London is a good team so we have to go out their and play to the best of our abilities.”

  The Knights are led by the line of Mitch Marner, Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk, who combined for ten points in London’s opening game win over the Red Deer Rebels and had a conmbined 119 points in 18 games in the OHL playoffs.

  McGauley might see a lot of that threesome on Monday night, and he compared that challenge of trying to limit London’t high-scoring trio to what the Wheat Kings faced earlier in the WHL playoffs when matching up against Moose Jaw’s Brayden Point or Seattle’s Mathew Barzal.

  “I love playing against great players in this league.  They make you a better hockey player...the better the player, the better the tempo, the faster it’s going to be,” said McGauley, “I’m looking forward to it and I hope I can hold up my end of the bargain here.”

  While McGauley and linemates John Quenneville and Reid Duke are expected to go head-to-head with the Marner line, it’ll likely be a combined effort for the Wheat Kings.

  Brandon will be the visiting team, meaning London will have a chance to dictate the matchups by having last change.

  The Marner-Dvorak-Tkachuk trio is also known for taking extended shifts, meaning it might take more than a single shift playing against them for Brandon.

Chaff...the Wheat Kings’ practiced for about 45 minutes off-site at the Collicutt Centre on was the goal ‘heard around the world’, and Wheat Kings’ F John Quenneville spent a couple of minutes talking about his third period goal Saturday against Rouyn-Noranda with the Sportsnet panel during the first intermission on Sunday’s broadcast...former Wheat Kings’ captain Mark Stone and the Canadian team blanked Finland 2-0 in the gold medal game at the World Hockey Championship on Sunday...former Wheat King and 1991 Memorial Cup champion Trevor Kidd was a guest Sunday afternoon in a ‘Hot Stove’ interview in the FanFest area...Red Deer defeated Rouyn-Noranda 5-2 Sunday, leaving both teams with 1-and-1 records.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

FanFest in Photos

Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy
(WHL's Top Defenceman,
won this year by Brandon's Ivan Provorov)

Wheat Kings' commemorative jersey worn in their first
game as host team at the 2010 Memorial Cup in Brandon.

The line of other commemorative jerseys from Memorial
Cups of years past.

Ed Chynoweth Cup (on loan, of course,
from the Brandon Wheat Kings)

Travis Hamonic's helmet he wore during the 2010 Memorial Cup

The big prize - the Memorial Cup.

The famed picture of Ray Allison, Bill Derlago and Brian Propp

Ray Ferraro during his 108 goal
campaign with Brandon in 1983-84

Virtual reality at the Rogers GameCentre Live display.

Darryl (Doc) Seaman Award for
WHL Scholastic Player of the Year
(Won this season by Brandon's Tanner Kaspick)

One of the many interactive games for the kids to enjoy.

Wheat Kings Drop Memorial Cup Opener

  A good start and an excellent third period highlighted the Brandon Wheat Kings’ first game at the 2016 Memorial Cup on Saturday night.

  Brandon dropped a 5-3 decision to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, giving up five straight goals to the QMJHL champions after jumping out to a 1-0 lead 2:44 into the contest on a goal by Reid Duke.

  “We had a bad start.  We got a goal but we weren’t playing good hockey at all,” said Brandon’s John Quenneville post-game, “We were really flat, had no speed and it cost us the game.”

  A.J. Greer scored the tying goal at the 14:06 mark of the first period, and then Gabriel Fontaine and Timo Meier scored 63 seconds apart in the final 90 seconds of the first to turn a 1-1 game into a 3-1 contest.

  “When they scored their first goal, that had been coming for a few shifts.  We didn’t respond well enough to get to the intermission at 1-1 or 2-1.  It was a 3-1 game by the time we were done the first period,” added Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, “I thought in the second period, we had a pretty decent push to the start the period, we were better...and then we took three straight minors, so.”

  The two goals near the end of the first period was one turning point.

  Another was Ivan Provorov failed to capitalize on a shorthanded breakaway midway through the second period, and the Philippe Myers then scoring the Huskies fourth goal on the same power-play.

John Quenneville
  Tyler Coulter and John Quenneville scored in a third period that saw Brandon outshoot Rouyn-Noranda 20-4 but it was a case of too little, too late for the Wheat Kings.

  “I was encouraged with the third period that we played harder, but we didn’t have that going for us earlier in the game,” added McCrimmon.

  Quenneville’s goal was a highlight reel marker.  On a breakaway, Quenneville performed a deft between the legs deke and buried a shot to the top corner behind Rouyn-Noranda netminder Chase Marchand.

  Marchand finished with 38 saves in the Huskies’ goal while Jordan Papirny made 24 saves for Brandon.

  The Wheat Kings’ next game is Monday night when they take on the OHL Champion London Knights.

  Sunday’s game has 1-and-0 Rouyn-Noranda taking on the 0-and-1 Red Deer Rebels.

Chaff...Brandon dressed the same lineup for the 16th straight game, sitting F Garrett Armour, F Caiden Daley and D Mark Matsuba...they’re keeping track of individual shots and faceoffs at the Memorial Cup, with Brandon’s Tanner Kaspick winning 12 of 16 faceoffs and four players (Mattheos, Quenneville, Patrick and Clague) having four shots each...the Wheat Kings were 0-for-5 on the power-play and 4-for-5 on the penalty-kill...this is Brandon’s sixth appearance in the Memorial Cup (1949, 1979, 1995, 1996, 2010 and 2016)...Rouyn-Noranda captain Francis Perron led all scorers with three assists in the contest.