Friday, 12 February 2016

Hawryluk Paces Wheat Kings past Blades

Ty Lewis snapped a 13-game goalless streak by
scoring a pair of goals in Friday's win.
  Jayce Hawryluk had two goals and three assists to pace the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 7-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades on Friday night.

  The victory pulled Brandon past Red Deer and back into second-place in the Eastern Conference standings, four points behind the first-place Lethbridge Hurricanes.

  Hawryluk’s night included scoring his 100th career goal, becoming the 29th player in franchise history to reach that milestone, and the Florida Panthers’ draft pick now has ten goals and 24 points in the last ten games.

  “I don’t know if he’s ever played better.  I think he’s playing exceptional, and not just for a game here or a game there but night in and night-out,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “Even on Tuesday, on a night we didn’t play all that well, I thought Jayce was our best guy.”

  Nolan Patrick added goal and three assists for the Wheat Kings, extending his goal-scoring streak to five games and giving him 15 goals and 26 points in the last 16 games.

  Ty Lewis scored a pair of power-play goals and added an assist for the Wheat Kings, ending a 13-game goalless streak for the Brandon rookie.

  “Playing with (Hawryluk) and (Patrick), they’re great players and they’re very skilled.  Hawryluk gave me a great pass on the second goal and Patrick threw me a great pass cross-ice on the first one,” said Lewis on CKLQ’s post-game show, “It helps playing with those guys, it keeps the game simple.  It was a good win tonight.”

  Tanner Kaspick also scored in his return to the Brandon lineup after a 19-game absence due to an upper body injury while Duncan Campbell scored the other Wheat Kings’ goal.

  Former Wheat King Braylon Shmyr scored the lone goal for Saskatoon with Brock Hamm making 48 saves in the Blades’ net.

  Logan Thompson made 19 saves in the Brandon net to improve to a perfect 8-and-0 in eight home starts this season.

  Brandon will hit the road to visit the Regina Pats on Saturday night (6:35 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

Chaff...Brandon scratches Friday were F Connor Gutenberg (lower body), F Linden McCorrister (upper body), D Jordan Thomson (healthy) and F/D Mark Matsuba (healthy)...F Reid Duke picked up his 100th point as a Wheat King on Friday, in his 106th career game...Brandon D Ivan Provorov was +4 on Friday and leads the WHL with a +41 rating...Brandon is 17-0-0-1 in their last 18 regular season meetings with Saskatoon...attendance Friday was 4,725.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Wheat Kings Look for Bounce Back Friday

Tim McGauley sits at 97 career goals going into
Friday's game.
  The Brandon Wheat Kings close out a four-game home stand Friday night when they host the Saskatoon Blades (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The Wheat Kings will be looking for a bounce-back effort after one of the club's worst performances in recent weeks in Tuesday's home-ice loss to the Prince Albert Raiders.

  "Obviously, it was a bad game for us on Tuesday but there's two points up for grabs every night and that's the case Friday and Saturday," said Brandon forward John Quenneville on Thursday, "We need to bring our best effort, regroup and be ready to play."

  The loss Tuesday was somewhat costly in the standings as Brandon will enter Friday's game with a six-point lead over second-place Prince Albert in the East Division and sitting in third-place in the Eastern Conference standings, one point behind Red Deer and four behind front-running Lethbridge.
  All four teams have 18 games left in the regular season.

  Quenneville feels they learned some lessons from Tuesday's contest.

  "A lot of things, mostly that you can't rest on a good start," said Quenneville, "You can't expect to play a good team and take your foot off the gas at any point and get away from your game plan."

  Friday's game will be the first game back in Brandon for former Wheat Kings Colton Waltz and Braylon Shmyr, who were dealt to Saskatoon as part of a four-player trade on January 4th.

  The Wheat Kings also hope to have Tanner Kaspick back in their lineup Friday night.

  He's missed the last 19 games with an upper body injury.

Chaff...Wheat Kings' F Nolan Patrick takes a four-game goal-scoring streak into Friday's contest...Brandon forwards Jayce Hawryluk and Tim McGauley are in a race to 100.  Hawryluk enters Friday's game with 98 career goals and McGauley has 97.  They're racing to become the 29th player in Wheat Kings' history to reach 100 career goals...the Wheat Kings' Pink the Rink promotion in support of the Canadian Cancer Society is one week away.  In advance of the special night on February 19th, we'll auction off Jordan Thomson's pink jersey during Saturday's broadcast on 880 CKLQ...the next five players in the WHL's Top-50 players of all-time countdown were released Thursday.  They were Pavel Brendl (#45), Brent Sutter (#44), Sam Reinhart (#43), John Davidson (#42) and Marian Hossa (#41).

Kaspick Closing In on Return

Tanner Kaspick practiced without restrictions for the
second straight day on Thursday.
  Tanner Kaspick is close to returning to the Brandon Wheat Kings' lineup, and he could be back Friday night when the Wheat Kings host the Saskatoon Blades (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The second-year forward has been sidelined since December 19th with an upper body injury but has practiced without restrictions the last two days.

  "A return is near, for sure.  Still not 100 per cent sure when that's going to be," said Kaspick this week, "I'm just trying to get prepared for as soon as possible and make sure I can come back and contribute to the team."

  Kaspick was having a solid 2015-2016 campaign with the Wheat Kings before the injury, scoring ten goals and 17 points in 35 games including five goals and ten points in the last 14 games he played before the injury happened.

  "I thought my play was solid, I thought I was really focused on being a consistent, reliable guy and I think I really was for our forward group," said Kaspick, "That's something I  just want to continue to do upon my return.  I have every expectation to be as good as I was before the injury, and maybe even better."

  Kaspick was ranked 76th among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Service's midterm rankings last month, and hopes to finish his draft-year season on a strong note.

  "When the injury happened, there was nothing I could do about it other than try to use it to my advantage and really capitalize on the rest at the start, and then try to get in better shape than I was before the injury and I think I've done that," said Kaspick, "I think I've really prepared myself, and I have every intention of coming back and playing an increased role in this last bit of games here."

  The Wheat Kings are looking to bounce back Friday night after a disappointing effort in Tuesday's loss to Prince Albert.

  Brandon will enter the game with a six-point lead over the second-place Raiders in the East Division standings, and sitting four points behind Lethbridge and one point behind Red Deer in the race for the Eastern Conference pennant.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Raiders Dump Wheat Kings

  The Prince Albert Raiders scored four unanswered third period goals to beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 6-3 on Tuesday night.

  Nolan Patrick had two goals and an assist for the Wheat Kings, who missed an opportunity to increase their lead over the second-place Raiders in the East Division standings and move into a tie for top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

  "Huge game in the division, huge game in the Conference.  It's disappointing that we played the way that we played for sure," said Wheat Kings' GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game, "I think we play our best, by far, when we play fast.  We had a lot of guys that did not work hard tonight and, as a result, it affects you everywhere on the ice."

  Tyler Coulter also scored for the Wheat Kings while Jayce Hawryluk had three assists, helping Brandon jumped out to a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

  Jesse Lees scored a power-play goal late in the second period to get Prince Albert within one.

  Simon Stransky and Brendan Guhle had a goal and two assists each for the Raiders, with Stransky's goal tying the game 3-3 just 45 seconds into the third period.

  Prince Albert captain Tim Vanstone put the Raiders in front for good just 11 seconds later.

  "We started off pretty good, I think we came out hard.  Then, we kind of fell apart," said Brandon captain Macoy Erkamps, "They were clogging up the neutral zone and we just weren't making plays.  It was definitely a disappointing loss."

  Rylan Parenteau made 28 saves in the Prince Albert net while Jordan Papirny made 24 saves for Brandon.

  The loss reduced the Wheat Kings' lead in the East Division to six points over the second-place Raiders.

  Brandon's back in action Friday when they host the Saskatoon Blades (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...Brandon scratched were F Jaeger White (healthy), F Tanner Kaspick (upper body), F Connor Gutenberg (lower body) and F Linden McCorrister (upper body)...Patrick's two goals give him 14 in the last 15 games and 26 overall on the season...the Raiders' line of Stransky, Jordan Tkatch and Reid Gardiner combined for eight points (3 G, 5 A) and were +12...both teams were 1-for-3 on the power-play...attendance was 3,649...the WHL Board of Governors announced a five-year contract extension for Commissioner Ron Robison on Tuesday.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Provorov Riding Hot Streak for Brandon

Ivan Provorov was named the WHL Player of the Week
on Monday
 Ivan Provorov has been one of the hottest members of the Brandon Wheat Kings since his return from the World Junior Hockey Championship.

  The Russian blueliner has five goals and 22 points in the last 13 games, and was named the WHL's Player of the Week on Monday after scoring nine points (2 G, 7 A) in three games last week while also registering a +6 rating.

  "I think I've been playing the same way...probably a little better after World Juniors just by playing at the higher level and bringing my game from there," said Provorov on Monday, "Trying to dominate there and then bringing my game from there here.  I think we're also playing better as a team so that helps too."

  Provorov's production has been a key in the Wheat Kings' surge over the last five weeks, with the club having won 11 of their last 14 contests including 10 of 13 with Provorov in the lineup.

  Some of the point production has been due to Brandon's success on the power-play, which has scored 20 times in the last 13 games and clicked at a 29.0% success rate (20-for-69).

  "We have good players on the power-play and we're just trying to move the puck and get shots and get the players running around on the other team," said Provorov, who has 111 points and is +75 in 103 career games, "If we have seams, or plays, we make plays."

  Provorov leads the WHL with a +39 rating this season and has 50 points in 43 games, good for third among defencemen in scoring.

  The Philadelphia Flyers' first round pick in 2015 was runner-up for the WHL Defenceman of the Year award last season and should not only receive strong consideration for that award this year, but should also be a contender for the WHL Player of the Year award.

  Provorov and the Wheat Kings look for their fourth straight win Tuesday night when they host the Prince Albert Raiders (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  Brandon enters the game with an eight-point lead over the second-place Raiders in the East Division standings.

  A victory Tuesday would also move the Wheat Kings into a tie with idle Lethbridge for top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Tanner Kaspick
Chaff...Provorov is the first WHL Player of the Week from the Wheat Kings this season...F Tanner Kaspick practiced in a no-contact jersey on Monday.  Kaspick has missed the last 18 games with an upper body injury...Brandon F Garrett Armour is eligible to return from his four-game suspension for Tuesday's game...Jayce Hawryluk (98) and Tim McGauley (97) are both within striking distance of 100 career games entering Tuesday's game.  28 previous players have scored 100 or more goals in their Wheat Kings' careers...Tuesday's game is another 2 For Tuesday, meaning all tickets are 2-for-1, beer is $2.99, pop, hot dogs and popcorn are all only $2...Brandon is averaging 4,117 fans per game through 25 home games.