Friday, December 28, 2012

Wheat Kings Open Second Half

Brandon captain Ryan Pulock believes the Wheat Kings
are ready for a second half playoff push

The Brandon Wheat Kings open the second half of their regular season Friday night when they host the Moose Jaw Warriors (7:35 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

The Wheat Kings were a disappointing 13-19-2-2 in the first half and enter Friday's contest three points behind the eighth-place Warriors in the WHL's Eastern Conference Standings.

Brandon did finish the first half by winning three of their last five games and captain Ryan Pulock is confident the team can build on that.

"I think that last week or so was really good for us. I think we battled well through the games and picked up some points," said Pulock after Brandon's practice on Thursday, "I think we had a good break here and everyone is excited to get back."

Brandon's first half likely puts them in a bit of a hole, with my estimate being that the club will likely need to garner at least 40 points over the final 36 games in order to garner a WHL playoff spot for a 13th consecutive season.

That's a goal Pulock believes is attainable.

"I think from how we finished and how we started to come around and how our work ethic has gotten a lot better in this last stretch," said Pulock, "Once we keep doing that consistently, up-and-down the lineup, I think every night we have a chance to win. I think those points are easily attainable if come prepared every game."

Brandon's playoff push will need to begin immediately as they open the second half.

The club plays seven games in the next 12 days including contests against Moose Jaw (Friday), Medicine Hat (January 5th) and Regina (January 6th) -- three teams that are right with Brandon in the battle for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Chaff...there was no official word on Michael Ferland's status for Friday's contest. Ferland practiced with the Wheat Kings for the second straight day on Thursday but has yet to be officially assigned back to the team by the NHL's Calgary Flames as of Friday morning...former Wheat King Bruno Mraz was pointless for Slovakia in their 6-3 loss to Canada Friday morning at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

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