Friday, 8 March 2013

Game #68 - Edmonton at Wheat Kings (March 8, 2013)

1. Corbin Boes
35. Curtis Honey

5. Colton Waltz - 7. Eric Roy
3. Tyler Yaworski - 2. Ryan Pulock
25. Nick Walters - 9. Rene Hunter
10. Kord Pankewicz

29. Nick Buonassisi - 14. Jason Swripa - 19. Taylor Cooper
15. Jack Palmer - 20. Chad Robinson - 24. Jens Meilleur
18. Richard Nejezchleb - 23. Tim McGauley - 8. Jayce Hawryluk
26. Geordie Maguire - 28. Quintin Lisoway

- Jesse Gabrielle will wait to make his Wheat Kings' debut as the 15-year old prospect will watch from the stands tonight.  He's joined on Brandon's scratch list by John Quenneville (lower body, out for season), Tyrel Seaman (concussion, out for season) and Marek Kalus (presumably a health scratch).

- Just a couple of other Brandon linep notes -- Kord Pankewicz returns to the Wheat Kings' lineup after sitting four straight games as a healthy scratch and Corbin Boes starts in goal for the Wheat Kings for the fifth time in six games.

- Brandon's special teams struggles this season are well documented, but both the power-play and penalty-kill have improved in the last few weeks.  The Wheat Kings are 14-for-58 (24.1%) with the man advantage since switching to the 3-high, 2-low alignment 16 games ago and the penalty-kill is 23-for-27 (85.2%) in the last seven games.  Both will be pushed tonight by an Edmonton team that ranks second in penalty-killing (87.5%) and first in power-play (28.4%) in the WHL this season.

- Tonight's game is the seventh of eight straight on the road for the Oil Kings that took them to the Western-most outpost in the WHL (Portland) and, now, to the Eastern-most outpost in Brandon.  Edmonton is 4-2-0-0 on the road trip so far, having won four straight after losing the first two games.  A point tonight would allow the Oil Kings to clinch their second straight Eastern Conference pennant.

- If Wheat Kings' fans are looking for some hope for the future, taking a look at Brandon's opposition tonight could be inspiration.  Four years ago (2009-2010), the Oil Kings finished last in the Eastern Conference and registered just 16 wins.  Today, they're the defending league champions and on the verge of a second straight Eastern Conference regular season title.  Good drafting and player development is a key reason why.

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