Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Blades, Wheat Kings Set for Showdown Tonight

The Brandon Wheat Kings face off with the Saskatoon Blades in a key East Division matchup Wednesday night (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Brandon trails the Blades by a single point with Saskatoon holding a game in hand.

The feeling is the Wheat Kings can't clinch first with the win, a loss would likely eliminate any chance they had a finishing atop the Division.

"It's a pretty huge game. We've had some pretty good battles with Saskatoon all year," says Brandon co-captain Matt Calvert, "It's a must-win game for our team and we just have to keep winning games and build some momentum toward the playoffs here."

The Wheat Kings were in a similar situation last season.

The club was in a neck-and-neck battle with the Blades and lost back-to-back home games to Saskatoon to, basically, hand the East Division title to the Blades.

"I guess you could say that it's kind of a do-over," says Brandon defenceman Colby Robak, "If we can turn things around from last year and come out on top, it'd be a huge accomplishment for us."

Brandon has won four of seven head-to-head meetings with Saskatoon including two of three at home.

"I think their systems are pretty well played, they have good coaching and they work hard," says Calvert, "If you don't work hard against them, you can lose every night. You just have to ready with your own systems, and make sure you play a hard-working, structured game and you'll be fine."

Both teams enter the game with plenty of injuries though the Wheat Kings got some good news on Tuesday.

Paul Ciarelli (thumb) and Michael Ferland (hand) both practiced.

It's still uncertain whether they'll play Wednesday night.

Chaff...Brandon is 0-for-16 on the power-play in their last three games..The Wheat Kings have established a single-season attendance record. The club has drawn 149,173 fans to 32 home games this season (4,662 per game), surpassing the club's single season attendance record of 148,769, set in 2006-2007...Brandon boasts the WHL's best home-ice winning percentage at .781 (24-6-0-2) and are 19-1-1-0 in their last 21 games at Westman Place...Brayden Schenn is tied for the team leading scoring this season after also leading the team in scoring the past two seasons. No player has ever led the team in scoring for three consecutive seasons, though Ron Chipperfield did lead the team in scoring three separate seasons (1970-71, '72-73 & '73-74).

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