Thursday, 8 October 2015

Wheat Kings Look for Third Straight Win

Flyers' Director of Player Development Kjell Samuelsson
in conversation with Ivan Provorov during Thursday's practice.
  The Brandon Wheat Kings have scored 14 goals in their last two games, and Tanner Kaspick would like nothing better than to get in on the action.

  The second-year Wheat Kings' forward is looking for his first goal of the season after leading the team in pre-season scoring with four goals and seven points.

  "I think I'm playing well, I think I'm moving my feet," said Kaspick after Thursday's practice, "I think I'm getting a lot of chances so as long as that's happening, I'm not too worried about it."

  While the Brandon product hasn't gotten on the scoresheet so far in 2015-2016, he has been contributing to the Wheat Kings' cause in other ways this season including being a part of the club's penalty-kill units.

  "It's just showing up and trying to do whatever I can to win," added Kaspick, who centred a line in practice on Thursday, "I think our team is starting to turn to around, we're getting better every day and I think that's my  job is to whatever I can to help the team win, that's the focus right now."

  Kaspick isn't alone in his quest for his first goal of the season as Brandon has yet to get a goal from a forward outside of their top two lines.

  Brandon continues their home stand this weekend, hosting the Kootenay Ice Friday night and the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night.

  Backup goaltender Logan Thompson could get his first start of the season in one of the two contests after Jordan Papirny started the club's first five games of the regular season.

  It'd be Thompson's first game action since start the second-last game of the pre-season on September 18th.

  "I just have to be practicing hard, every day.  You never know when you're going to get called upon so you just have to always be ready," said Thompson, "That's the role of the backup, just to always be ready when the time comes to play, so."

  Thompson had a 1.50 goals against average and .957 save percentage in three appearances in the pre-season.

Chaff...the Wheat Kings need to reduce their roster to the maximum of two import players by the end of the day Friday...the WHL's 20-year old deadline is October 15...Rihards Bukarts would be serving the third and final game of his three-suspension Friday...John Quenneville and Nolan Patrick take three-game point-scoring streaks into Friday's contest...Philadelphia Flyers' Director of Player Development Kjell Samuelsson was on the ice at Wheat Kings' practice Thursday.  He's in Brandon to help monitor the progress of Ivan Provorov, Philly's first round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft...Brandon product Joel Edmundson made his NHL debut with St. Louis Thursday, playing 12:29 and getting into a fight with Edmonton's Eric Gryba. Check out the video here.

Import Deadline Looms for Wheat Kings

Ivan Provorov is one of three import players
on the Wheat Kings roster.
  The Brandon Wheat Kings will have a decision to make by the end of the day on Friday.

  The club is currently carrying three import players in Ivan Provorov, Rihards Bukarts and Dario Winkler and must get down to the maximum of two import players by the end of the day.

  Bukarts is also a two-spotter, occupying both an import spot and a 20-year old spot for the club.

  He's one of five 20-year olds currently on the Wheat Kings' roster, joining Tim McGauley, Macoy Erkamps, Colton Waltz and Quintin Lisoway.

  The deadline for WHL teams to reduce to the maximum of three 20-year olds players is October 15th.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Wheat Kings Power Past Giants

John Quenneville had two goals and two assists Tuesday.
  Jayce Hawryluk had his second straight five point game in helping the Brandon Wheat Kings to an 8-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday night.

  Hawryluk had a goal and four assists for Brandon while John Quenneville added two goals and two assists in helping lead the Wheat Kings to their first home-ice win of the season.

  "It comes in spurts, I guess," said Hawryluk on CKLQ's post-game show, "The puck has just been following me around and I've been fortunate enough to be put with two good linemates every game I've played.  The puck is going in, and it's nice."

  Reid Duke also scored twice for Brandon while Nolan Patrick and Ivan Provorov added a goal and two assists each.

  Brandon jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period, and then allowed Vancouver to tie the contest by giving up their first two 5-on-5 goals against this season.

  However, Quenneville's 5-on-3 power-play goal with six seconds left in the opening frame put the Wheat Kings back in front for good, and it was a lead they wouldn't relinquish the rest of the night.

  "Big goal for us, obviously, and to restore the lead going into the intermission was important," said Brandon assistant coach David Anning, "It allowed us to re-focus and still have a lead and really buy into shutting it down on the defensive side."

  With Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon away attending league meetings, Anning was the coach of record Tuesday and picked up his first WHL coaching victory.

  Braylon Shmyr had the Wheat Kings' other goal while Jordan Papirny made 27 saves in the Brandon net.

  The Wheat Kings will continue their home stand Friday, when they host the Kootenay Ice.

Chaff...Wheat Kings' F Rihards Bukarts sat out the second game of his three-game suspension...Brandon also scratched F Tim McGauley (upper body), F Quintin Lisoway, F Dario Winkler, F Connor Gutenberg and D Mark Tarashuk...F Garrett Armour made his Brandon debut Tuesday and was involved in a first period fight with Vancouver's Dakota Odgers...12 former Wheat Kings will start the season in the National Hockey League in Ryan Pulock (NY Islanders), Ryan Reaves (St. Louis), Travis Hamonic (NY Islanders), Brayden Schenn (Philadelphia), Matt Calvert (Columbus), Eric Fehr (Pittsburgh), Jason Chimera (Washington), Rob Klinkhammer (Edmonton), Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg), Michael Ferland (Calgary), Mark Stone (Ottawa) and Jordin Tootoo (New Jersey)...attendance Tuesday was 3,703.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Armour Set for Wheat Kings' Debut

Garrett Armour practiced with Brandon for the first time Monday.
  Garrett Armour will make his Wheat Kings' debut Tuesday night when Brandon plays host to the Vancouver Giants (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The 18-year old Winnipeg product has acquired from Saskatoon late last week for a conditional 10th round pick in the 2017 Bantam Draft and practiced with Brandon for the first time on Monday.

  "It was almost a relief when I found out that's where I was going," said Armour after Monday's practice, "I'm coming to an elite team and one of the best club's in Canada so it was a huge moment for me for sure."

   Armour practiced on a line with Brandonites Duncan Campbell and Tanner Kaspick on Monday, and the 6-foot-2, 212 pound Armour said he's got a pretty good understanding of what his role with the Wheat Kings will be.

  "I know I'm not going to come into this team and be an elite points guy or goal scorer, that's not why they brought me in because they have a lot of those guys here," said Armour, "I'm going to be a guy that gets pucks deep, keeps the game really simple.  I'm going to be throwing the body, creating some room for my linemates who can put the puck in the net and be a role guy."

  Armour had one goal and six points in 45 games in his rookie season with Saskatoon in 2014-2015 after producing 13 goals and 30 points in 43 games during the 2013-2014 campaign as a teammate with Wheat Kings' centre Nolan Patrick on the Winnipeg Thrashers of the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League.

  While Armour looks to draw into the Brandon lineup Tuesday, Rihards Bukarts will be out for the second straight game.

  Bukarts was suspended for a checking-from-behind major he incurred during Friday's loss to Calgary and sat out Saturday's game in Regina, with the WHL setting the suspension at three games on Monday evening.

  One disappointment for Brandon fans Tuesday night is that they'll be denied the opportunity to see Tyler Benson in person for the first time.

  The top pick in the 2013 Bantam Draft and top prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft remains out of the Vancouver lineup indefinitely after undergoing surgery last month.

Chaff...three Brandon prospects will play in the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup later this month Calgary.  It was announced Monday that Caiden Daley and Rylan Bettens will be members of Team Manitoba and Sean Comrie will play for Team Alberta...Manitoba's roster doesn't include Brandon product Calden Addison, the second overall pick in the 2015 Bantam Draft by Lethbridge.  He's sidelined indefinitely after suffering a fractured tibia ten days ago...former Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Pulock has cracked the opening night roster of the New York Islanders...Brandon product Joel Edmundson appears to have won himself a spot on the St. Louis Blues' opening night roster...Bill Meltzer from reports that former Wheat Kings' great Brian Propp has now been released from Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Phiadelphia after suffering a stroke last month.

McGauley Inks Deal with Capitals

Tim McGauley
  Tim McGauley must have made an impression at the Washington Capitals' training camp last month.

  The Brandon Wheat Kings' centre has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals.

  "I just went there to try and make an impression, work hard and just play my game.  They liked it so it was good for me," said McGauley on Monday, "I didn't know until Kelly (McCrimmon) told me a couple of days ago here so that was news to me but I'm happy they like the way I play."

  His signing won't affect his status with the Wheat Kings, as he'll remain with the club for the remainder of the season.

  McGauley finished third in the WHL in scoring last season with 105 points and was the only player to finish in the top-6 in goals, assists, points and plus-minus while also being a runner-up for the WHL's Player of the Year award.

  "It's nice to be recognized for the hard work.  I put a lot of work in the off-season as well, training and everything so to get rewarded like this is real nice for sure," said McGauley, "This is just the first step.  There's a lot more work for me to do so I'll try to climb the ladder and get to the next stage."

  This season, McGauley had a goal in the club's opening game before suffering a shoulder injury late in the contest.

  He's likely out of Brandon's lineup until next month.

  "It's definitely real nice to have it out of the way," added McGauley, "I'm not playing right now but it's something that when I get back on the ice, it's nice to be gone and have some pressure off my shoulders and I can just worry about winning games here in Brandon."

  McGauley is the third Wheat King to have inked an entry-level NHL contract in the last four months.

  According to, McGauley's deal is worth 1.99 million dollars over the three years (if in the NHL) including a $165,000 signing bonus.

  Ivan Provorov signed a deal with Philadelphia in early July, just a couple of weeks after being the 7th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and New Jersey 2014 first round pick John Quenneville signed with the Devils in mid-July.