Saturday, 28 March 2015

Gow Addition Paying Dividends in a Lot of Ways

Reid Gow's contribution to the Wheat Kings can't be
measured by statistics alone.
  Reid Gow likes to think of himself as the best road hockey goalie there is out there!

  The 20-year old defenceman has brought an element to the Brandon Wheat Kings in his three short months with the club that wasn’t prominent before his acquisition in early January.
 “I don’t think I have much form at all,” said Gow after Brandon’s practice in Edmonton Saturday, “I want to do anything to win and if that’s how I’m going to contribute to the Brandon Wheat Kings, I’ll block everything I can.  You have to make sure to get in one likes to block shots but if there’s one part of my game that I pride myself on, it’s definitely that.”
  Gow’s modest offensive numbers during the regular season don’t tell the whole story of what his addition has meant to the Wheat Kings.
  The former Spokane Chiefs’ captain has an easy-going nature about him but make no doubt, his competitive nature is something that’s definitely rubbed off on his Brandon teammates.
  It was something Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon was hoping would happen when he acquired Gow from Spokane and enticed him to return to the WHL after he spent the first half of the season with the University of Manitoba Bisons.
  “Don Nachbaur, my coach in Spokane, I like to give a lot of credit for that competitive nature.  He’s all about compete...I want to earn everything I get through compete and that’s how I like to play my game,” said Gow, “I’m happy if it rubs off on guys.  There’s lot of guys on this team blocking shots and willing to play greasy and I hope I’m a contributor to that.”
  Gow and the Wheat Kings have a quick turnaround, as they visit Edmonton on Sunday in Game #3 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final series.
  After splitting the opening two games in Brandon, the club will play three in a row at Rexall Place beginning with Sunday’s contest.
Chaff...F Duncan Campbell and F Tanner Kaspick, both of whom missed the opening two games of the series, practiced without restrictions with the Wheat Kings on Saturday...F Reid Duke, who missed the last 16 games of the regular season with a lower body injury, skated on his town ahead of Brandon’s practice Saturday...the Wheat Kings’ 2-1 regular season victory in Edmonton on January 13th broke Brandon’s 14-game losing streak at Rexall Place...Brandon’s 26 road wins during the regular season tied a franchise record...Brandon’s penalty-kill is 7-8 in the series and 35-40 (87.5%) in their last 14 games overall.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Big Bounce-Back Win for Wheat Kings

John Quenneville had a goal and three assists for
Brandon on Friday.
  Only a 'Super Ball' could bounce back better than the Brandon Wheat Kings did on Friday night.

  John Quenneville had a goal and three assists as the Wheat Kings downed the Edmonton Oil Kings 8-1 to tie their Eastern Conference Quarter-Final 1-1.

  Jayce Hawryluk and Tim McGauley had a pair of goals each for Brandon, who had dropped a 4-1 decision to Edmonton in Game #1 on Thursday.

  "We knew we needed to come out to a fast start and get the momentum early on.  I thought we did that and didn't look back," said Hawryluk on CKLQ's post-game show, "I think we took them a little lightly (Thursday) night and tonight we beared down, we kept things simple and we worked hard and that paid off."

  Tyler Coulter got Brandon started by scoring 36 seconds into the contest, the only goal of the opening 20 minutes during which Brandon outshot the Oil Kings 14-9.

  Hawryluk have Brandon a 2-0 lead with the first of three Wheat Kings' power-play goals 5:14 into the second period and Rihards Bukarts made it 3-0 four and a half minutes later.

  McGauley scored both his goals in the third period while Hawryluk also added his second, Quenneville his only goal and Eric Roy the other Brandon marker.

  Tyler Robertson scored the only Edmonton goal, breaking Jordan Papirny's shutout bid with 4:55 left in the contest.

  Brandon scored three power-play goals in the contest and are 9-for-23 with the man advantage in six games (four regular season, two playoff) agains the top-ranked Oil Kings' penalty-kill this season.

Jayce Hawryluk scored twice Friday and was named
the 1st star.

  "I think we just have to keep moving the puck like we are.  We're moving it nicely and we get traffic in front of (Edmonton goaltender) Tristan Jarry," said Hawryluk, "If he sees the puck, he's going to make a save for if we get traffic and we get shots on net and look for the puck on rebounds, it might go in like it did tonight."

  Jarry stopped 24 of 29 shots before being pulled after Brandon's fifth goal 5:52 into the third period while Papirny finished with 33 saves in the Brandon net.

  The series now shifts to Edmonton for the next three games on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Rexall Place.

Chaff...Hawryluk missed out on his second career playoff hat-trick when he was denied by Patrick Dea on a penalty shot 6:20 into the third period...neither team made any lineup changed between Games #1 and #2, meaning the Wheat Kings scratched F Reid Duke, F Quintin Lisoway, F Duncan Campbell, F Tanner Kaspick, D Mark Taraschuk and G Logan Thompson...Brandon's only real change was shifting rookie Kale Clague back to the blueline after he had played the last three games as a left-winger...attendance Saturday was 4,102...Brandon's eight goals were the most for the Wheat Kings in a playoff games since an 8-6 win in Medicine Hat on April 5, 2009.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Wheat Kings Stumble in Playoff Opener

Peter Quenneville scored Brandon's only goal on Thursday.
  A tentative and disappointing start to the 2015 Western Hockey League playoffs Thursday night for the Brandon Wheat Kings as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

  Brandon fell behind 2-0 in the first period before Peter Quenneville scored Brandon's only goal on a second period power-play to cut the lead in half going into the third.

  However, the Wheat Kings surrendered the only two goals in the final 20 minutes while registering just five shots on net.

  "The second period would have been when we had momentum for pretty good stretch at the start of the period, a pretty good stretch at the end of the period and, obviously, scored the power-play goal in that time," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game show, "Tentative in the first, decent in the second and poor in the third would be how I saw the game tonight."

  Tyler Robertson got Edmonton on the board, scoring on an offensive zone faceoff just 11 seconds into the contest while Brett Pollock made it 2-0 with his first of two goals at the 11:55 mark of the opening frame.

  Pollock added his second on an Oil Kings' power-play 1:35 into the third period that restored Edmonton's two-goal lead before setting up Lane Bauer for the fourth Oil Kings' goal just after the minute mark.

  "We just didn't play our game," said Brandon captain Peter Quenneville on CKLQ's post-game show, "When we're playing our best, we're making it hard on the other team and we just didn't do that tonight and it showed on the scoreboard."

  Jordan Papirny made 30 saves in the Wheat Kings' net while Tristan Jarry stopped 25 shots in the Edmonton goal.

  Brandon will host Game #2 of the Best-of-Seven series Friday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  "You play right away again, so you take out of the game what we need to take out of it, realize where we need to be better," said McCrimmon, "To me, there's a lot of areas where we can be better (Friday) and then channel it towards a better performance in Game two."

  After Game #2 Friday, the series will shift to Edmonton for the next three contests.

Chaff...Brandon scratched F Reid Duke, F Quintin Lisoway, F Duncan Campbell, F Tanner Kaspick, D Mark Taraschuk and G Logan Thompson...Brandon went 1-for-4 on the power-play while Edmonton was 1-for-2...after making his WHL debut in Brandon's regular season finale Saturday, 2014 first overall pick Stelio Mattheos made his WHL playoff debut on Thursday...attendance for Game #1 was 3,086.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Wheat Kings Set for Playoff Opener

  The Brandon Wheat Kings begin their quest for the Ed Chynoweth Cup Thursday night as they host the Edmonton Oil Kings to open the Western Hockey League playoffs (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The Wheat Kings were the WHL's highest-scoring team during the regular season, with their 340 goals the highest total in a single season in 17 years.

  The Oil Kings, meanwhile, held the fifth-best defensive record by averaging 2.77 goals against per game.

  "Edmonton are a good defensive team, they've got the top penalty-kill in the league, they've got the second-best goals against in the Conference and they've got an experienced team," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Wednesday, "They bring a lot of challenges to the table.  We'll have to play real well to have success against their team."

  "Work ethic, structure.  It's a team that's really well coached," added Wheat Kings' captain Peter Quenneville, "They don't have the same powerhorses that they had last year but I think they're still going to be very difficult to play against."

  The Oil Kings have ended Brandon's season two of the last three years including a five-game victory in the second round last spring that helped jettison Edmonton to the WHL title and a Memorial Cup Championship.

  Despite the playoff defeat, McCrimmon felt it had some benefit to the Wheat Kings long-term.

  "I said as soon as that series was over, well before then won the league and went on to win the Memorial Cup, that that was going to be a great series for the growth of our team, seeing what a championship club looks like," said McCrimmon, "That, in part, helped prepare us for this season and I think, in part, it helps prepare us for playoffs this time around."

  Brandon did win three of four games between the two teams during the regular season including a 2-1 victory in their last meeting on January 13th, a victory that ended the Wheat Kings' 14-game losing streak at Rexall Place.

  As far as their lineup in concerned, the Wheat Kings had a little fuller practice on Wednesday but forwards Tanner Kaspick, Duncan Campbell, Reid Duke and Quintin Lisoway were all absent from the workout.

  That makes it unlikely any of the four will be in the lineup for the playoff opener on Thursday night.

Brandon Wheat Kings vs Edmonton Oil Kings

Head to Head Record 2014-15 Regular Season Brandon 3-1-0-0 Edmonton 1-2-1-0
Head to Head Record 2013-14 Regular Season Brandon 1-2-1-0 Edmonton 3-1-0-0
Last 5 Years record between teams Brandon 6-12-1-1 Edmonton 14-5-1-0
Brandon vs. Edmonton Last 5 Years record at Brandon Brandon 5-4-0-1 Edmonton 5-4-1-0
Brandon vs. Edmonton Last 5 Years record at Edmonton Brandon 1-8-1-0 Edmonton 9-1-0-0
Previous Meetings This Season Brandon 2 @ Edmonton 1 (Jan 13 2015) Final

Edmonton 4 @ Brandon 5 (Nov 22 2014) Final OT

Edmonton 4 @ Brandon 7 (Nov 21 2014) Final

Brandon 2 @ Edmonton 5 (Oct 13 2014) Final

Edmonton Brandon
Team Record 34-31-4-3 -- 75 points 53-11-4-4 -- 114 points
Division Ranking 5th Central 1st East
Conference Ranking 8th Eastern 1st Eastern
League Ranking 14th 1st
Home Record 19-15-1-1 27-3-4-2
Away Record 15-16-3-2 26-8-0-2
GF 217 340
GA 204 219
PP (Overall) (51/275) 18.5 (78/303) 25.7
PP (Home) (30/145) 20.7 (38/155) 24.5
PP (Away) (21/130) 16.2 (40/148) 27.0
PK (Overall) (53/348) 84.8 (55/240) 77.1
PK (Home) (28/174) 83.9 (26/118) 78.0
PK (Away) (25/174) 85.6 (29/122) 76.2
Team PIM/GM 13.7/Game 11.4/Game
Leading Scorers Pollock (32-30-62) McGauley (42-63-105)

Bauer (25-30-55) Klimchuk (34-46-80)

Mayo (14-37-51) Quenneville (27-48-75)

Sautner (12-39-51) Bukarts (33-41-74)

Baddock (19-21-40) Hawryluk (30-35-65)
Leading After 1st 15-6-1-1 27-0-2-2
Leading After 2nd 24-2-1-1 41-0-3-0
Tied After 1st 13-10-1-2 19-5-1-1
Tied After 2nd 6-7-2-2 8-2-1-3
Trailing After 1st 6-15-2-0 7-6-1-1
Trailing After 2nd 4-22-1-0 4-9-0-1
Out Shooting Opponents 24-19-1-2 40-5-2-2
Out Shot by Opponents 9-11-3-1 13-6-2-2
1-Goal Games 9-10-4-3 8-1-4-4
2-Goal Games 7-7-0-0 12-3-0-0
3-Goal Games 9-10-0-0 17-2-0-0



Plenty of League Accolades for Wheat Kings

Ivan Provorov was named a finalist for Defenceman of the
Year and a first-team all-star on Wednesday.
  Lots of accolades for members of the Brandon Wheat Kings Wednesday as the Western Hockey League announced the finalists for its various awards.

  Ivan Provorov is up Defenceman of the Year, Peter Quenneville is up for Most Sportsmanlike Player and Nolan Patrick is the Eastern Conference finalist for Rookie of the Year.

  Patrick led all WHL rookies in goals with 30, becoming just the third 16-year old in the last 20 years to score 30 or more in their rookie season.

  "It's obviously exciting to get noticed for that award," said Patrick, who finished third in rookie scoring with 56 points, "I can't take all the credit for that...I played with a bunch of great players this year that helped me out the whole way so I have to give them a lot of credit."

  Patrick would be the first Wheat King to win the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy since Brayden Schenn in 2007-2008.

  Kailer Yamamoto of the Spokane Chiefs is the Western Conference nominee for Rookie of the Year.

  Provorov will be opposed by Seattle's Shea Theodore for the Bill Hunter Trophy as Top Defenceman.

  Provorov led all WHL rookies in scoring and was fourth in defencemen scoring with 61 points after being chosen by Brandon in the first round of the 2014 CHL Import Draft.

Nolan Patrick is up for
Rookie of the Year
  "I think the transition for me was easy because this is my fourth year in North America.  The USHL, where I played last year, is a physical, fast league," said Provorov, "I played hard every night and try to do everything I can to help the team win."

  The 2014-15 campaign is actually Provorov's fourth in North America after playing two seasons, Bantam and Midget, in Wilkes-Barre before joining the USHL's Cedar Rapids Roughriders last year.

  Quenneville finished third on the Wheat Kings in scoring this season with 75 points, accumulating just 20 penalty minutes (10 minors)while also serving as Brandon's captain this season.

  "I think it's always cool to be recognized in the league," said Quenneville, "It's a great league and a lot of great players and to be recognized for an award, no matter which one it is, is pretty cool."

  In addition to the three players up for awards, Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon is the Eastern Conference Finalist for Executive of the Year, an award he's won twice previously.

  Three Brandon players were also named to the Eastern Conference all-star teams.

  Provorov and Tim McGauley, who finished third in the league in scoring, were named to the first-team while goaltender Jordan Papirny was a second team all-star.

Peter Quenneville is a nominee
for Most Sportsmanlike Player
  Others of note include Elkhorn product Travis Sanheim of the Calgary Hitmen being named an Eastern Conference first team all-star while Oak River's John Paddock of the Regina Pats being named the Eastern Conference nominee for Coach of the Year.

  The league award winners will be announced on May 6th, while the finalists for the Player of the Year Award will be announced at a later date.

Chaff...the WHL Bantam Draft lottery was held Wednesday with the Spokane Chiefs winning.  They will select first overall at the draft on May 7.  Brandon have the final pick of the first round, 21st overall...WHL Commissioner Ron Robison will be in Brandon Thursday to present the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy was regular season champions to the Wheat Kings prior to their playoff opener against Edmonton.