Friday, 8 March 2013

Challenge Excites Wheat Kings

Jayce Hawryluk
  The Brandon Wheat Kings will try to spoil Edmonton's party Friday night when they host the Oil Kings.

  Edmonton needs one more point to clinch their second straight Eastern Conference pennant while the Wheat Kings are currently sitting in last place in the Conference with a 22-38-4-3 record.

  "They're a great team and they're fun to play against and they're hard to play against," said Brandon forward Jayce Hawryluk after Thursday's Wheat Kings' practice, "I think it's great competition for us and I think we just want to prove to everyone out here that we can play against a top team."

  The Wheat Kings haven't had a lot of success against some of the WHL's top teams this season, sporting an 11-31-4-1 record against club that are currently holding down post-season spots in the Western Hockey League including losing 29 of 39 games against the Eastern Conferece playoff-bound teams.

  In addition, Brandon has lost ten straight against the Oil Kings including the four-game sweep the Wheat Kings suffered at Edmonton's hands during the second of the 2012 playoffs.

  "It's a huge challenge for both the team and myself," added Hawryluk, "We have to prove that we're not a bad team and we can play with the best players and the best team in the league."

  Including Friday's contest, the Wheat Kings have five games remaining in their 2012-2013 season, with four of those happening on home-ice.

  Brandon is currently four points behind 11th-place Regina and five back of 10th-place Moose Jaw so a climb out of last place will be difficult.

  However, a strong performance over the next nine days could go a long way toward a rebound performance for the team in 2013-2013.

  "I think we just want to finish off strong and hopefully go 5-and-0 in these last five games," said Hawryluk, "It'll be tough but I think we can do it.  From a team perspective, we just want to finish off strong."

Chaff...prospect Jesse Gabrielle's transfer from USA hockey has been completed and he'll be eligible to make his Wheat Kings' debut tonight...despite not appearing on this week's WHL Injury Report, the Wheat Kings confirmed Thursday that F John Quenneville will miss the remainder of the season with a lower body injury suffered last Saturday in Prince Albert...former Wheat King Michael Ferland suffered an upper body injury earlier this week and will be on the sidelines when the Blades host Medicine Hat Friday night.

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