The Brandon Wheat Kings and Saskatoon Blades will meet in the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.
The Wheat Kings won five of eight meetings with the Blades during the regular season but that can all be thrown out the window now.
"Saskatoon is a real good team, they play real physical and they never stop trying," says Brandon right-winger Aaron Lewadniuk, "We've had real good bouts with them throughout the season so we're really going to have to bring our 'A' game if we're going to come out of it."
Westman Communications Group Place is unavailable this week because of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, meaning the series will begin with the first two games in Saskatoon on Friday and Saturday.
Brandon will then host three in a row next Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, which actually works out well for Saskatoon since there are a pair of concerts slated for Credit Union Centre next week.
The Wheat Kings finished off their first-round series with Swift Current last Wednesday and will have been idle for nine days by the time the series starts on Friday
"Once you go through a series like that, it can really take a toll on your body," says Lewadniuk, "I think a lot of guys feel a lot better now. We got to recharge, get a day off or two and get that itch again to play in a real hockey game again."
Brandon was missed three regulars from practice Monday in F Jay Fehr, D Darren Bestland and D Mark Schneider while D Ryley Miller (jaw) also remains sidelined.
Both teams will be dealing with suspensions to start the series.
Brandon F Jordan Hale will miss the first two games to finish his three-game suspension for a charging major in Game #3 versus Swift Current while the Blades will be without GM/Head Coach Lorne Molleken for the first two games, F Randy McNaught for the first three contests and Sena Acolatese, Darian Dziurzynski and Duncan Siemenns for the opening contest.
Brandon Wheat Kings vs Saskatoon Blades
(Best-of-Seven Eastern Conference Semifinal)
Friday, April 2 - Brandon at Saskatoon, 8:05 p.m. (7:35 p.m.)
Saturday, April 3 - Brandon at Saskatoon, 8:05 p.m. (7:35 p.m.)
Wednesday, April 7 - Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:00 p.m. (6:30 p.m.)
Friday, April 9 - Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:30 p.m. (7:00 p.m.)
*Saturday, April 10 - Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:30 p.m. (7:00 p.m.)
*Monday, April 12 - Brandon at Saskatoon, 8:05 p.m. (7:35 p.m.)
*Wednesday, April 14 - Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:00 p.m. (6:30 p.m.)
* - if necessary. All times CDT. Time in parentheses is the CKLQ broadcast time.
Chaff...Tickets for Game #3 and Game #4 went on sale today at the Keystone Centre Box Office (726-3555) and online at www.ticketmaster.ca. It might not be a bad idea to order by phone or online because of the RMWF at the Keystone Centre.