Friday, 11 October 2013

Lindgren Aiding Wheat Kings' PK

Ryley Lindgren
  The Brandon Wheat Kings continue their five-game home stand Friday night when they entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors (7:38 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The Wheat Kings are 4-3-0-0 so far this season, with part of the reason being the play of their special team including a penalty-kill that currently ranked fourth in the Western Hockey League with an 83.9 per cent success rate (26-for-31).

  Rookie centre Ryley Lindgren is one of the key players of the club's penalty-kill unit with one of the season being that Lindgren is already an accomplished faceoff man.

  "Faceoffs are something I've always really worked on and something that I want to continue to improve on," said the 17-year old Lindgren after practice on Thursday, "Being able to go on in those situations and have success in those situations really makes a big difference and I want to just keep working at that."

  Brandon being above the 80 per cent is more significant than you would think.

  The Wheat Kings haven't finished a season above the 80 per cent mark since 2007-2008 and were last in the WHL last season at 71.7 per cent.

  Brandon's power-play has also been hot as of late, going 7-for-20 during the first three games of their home stand.

  Overall, it ranks 11th in the WHL at 24.4 per cent.

  "We've done a real good job of getting shots to the net and having traffic, and that's what we have to keep on doing is having a shooting mentality," said Brandon assistant coach Darren Ritchie on Thursday, "When we have Ryan Pulock and Eric Roy on the backend, those guys do a good job of getting our shots through.  If we can keep doing that, you get second chances and if you get second chances you're going to get an opportunity to score."

  Meanwhile, Lindgren is one of only two first-year players to play every game with the Wheat Kings so far this season.

  The East St. Paul, Manitoba product played four games with Brandon last season and he feels that cup of coffee gave him an edge this season.

  "Having those games a couple of years ago just gave me that feeling and that taste of wanting it that much more," said Lindgren, "Being sent home (last year) was the best thing to me to play Midget and coming back this year I just wanted it that much more, to make that jump and just stay in the lineup every game."

  Lindgren had 24 goals and 50 points in 42 games while captaining the Winnipeg Thrashers last season.

  The 5-foot-11, 183 pound Lindgren one goal in seven games so far this season.

Chaff..Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Pulock should be back in Brandon's lineup Friday after practicing without restrictions on Thursday.  Pulock missed Saturday's loss to Red Deer with an upper body injury...Friday's game is the third of eight meetings between Brandon and Moose Jaw this season.  The Wheat Kings swept the Warriors in a season-opening home-and-home series, winning 6-3 in Moose Jaw on September 20th and 3-1 on home-ice on September 21st...Brandon concludes this home stand by hosting Saskatoon Saturday and will then play eight of their next nine games on the road.

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