Friday, 23 September 2011

Bertaggia Stars as Wheat Kings Win Opener

Alessio Bertaggia had a hat-trick in his WHL debut
The Brandon Wheat Kings opened the Western Hockey League regular season with a 4-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Thursday night

Alessio Bertaggia scored his first career hat-trick in his first career WHL game to pace the Wheat Kings’ offence while Corbin Boes stopped 19 shots in the Brandon net.

“Any time you get a win on the road is great, and it’s a bonus when you can start your season that way,” said Wheat Kings’ assistant coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk on CKLQ’s post-game show, “Give credit to our guys…we got our feet wet in the first period, made improvements in the second and I thought our third was really good.”

Paul Ciarelli also scored for the Wheat Kings while Mark Stone added a pair of assists, both times setting up Bertaggia on picture perfect passes – the first on a 2-on-1 break 2:40 in the first period that settled the hometown crowd and team.

“It was a great momentum swing for us…I think it calmed our whole bench down and we able to just settle in and play,” said Gylywoychuk, “We were able to roll all four lines, our young guys got their feet wet in the guy and all six D and I thought Corbin Boes was good when he had to be.”

The two teams will meet again on Friday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place) in Brandon’s home opener.

Moose Jaw forward Cody Beach will not be in the Warriors’ lineup after he was assessed a five minute major for checking to the head during the third period of Thursday’s contest – an infraction that will be automatically be reviewed by the WHL office for a probable suspension.

The hit on Wheat Kings’ forward Bruno Mraz appeared to contain a lot of the elements which the WHL was trying to address in its 7-point plan to reduce head injuries – the first point of contact was the head on an opponent in a vulnerable position who was already engaged with another player.

Mraz played a couple of shifts after the hit, but is expected to be re-evaluated on Friday.

Chaff…Brandon went 2-for-5 on the man advantage while killing off all four Moose Jaw power-play chances...attendance at the first WHL regular season game at Mosiac Place was 4,480...Regina traded D Myles Bell, 18, to the Kelowna Rockets on Thursday for D Colton Jobke, 19, and 2nd round pick in the 2012 Bantam Draft and a 5th round pick in 2013...Kootenay Ice D and Winnipeg product James Martin, 20, has signed an entry level contract with the Calgary Flames...Winnipeg product and Tri-City F Brenden Shinnimin has been assigned to the AHL's San Antonio Rampage by the Phoenix Coyotes. He does not have a contract with the Coyotes.

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