Friday, 13 December 2013

Brandon Net All Papirny's Again?

Photo by Stephen Simon
  It looks like it'll be back to the Jordan Papirny show in net for the Brandon Wheat Kings as they close out the first half of their Western Hockey League regular season this weekend.

  Papirny's goaltender partner Curtis Honey missed Tuesday's victory over Kamloops and hasn't practiced with the team the past two days.

  Papirny was used almost exclusively by the Wheat Kings when Honey was sidelined in November and early December, and has played in 21 of Brandon's 33 games so far this year.

  "At the start of the year, I never would have imagined playing 21 games," said Papirny after Thursday's practice, "I really cherish the opportunity I've got in the net, and that's what I came here to do, so."

  A start tonight would be Papirny's 17th in the last 18 games, which includes the 15 straight games he started while Honey was sidelined.

  The product of Edmonton, Alberta seemed to wear down under the strain of those consecutive starts and Papirny admits that it is taxing to start that many games in a row.

  "I think, for the most part, it's more mentally tough than it is physically.  Getting prepared for games night after night after night really takes a toll on you," said Papirny, who was the 22nd overall pick in the 2011 Bantam Draft, "Trying to keep to a routine and certain things and priorities, that's just something I've been trying to do and I've learned to manage it a little better, so."

  The Wheat Kings will have their hands full Friday night when they entertain the league-leading Kelowna Rockets (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The Rockets lead the Western Hockey League standings with a 24-3-0-2 record and bring an eight-game winning streak into Brandon.

  "It's a big measuring stick game, obviously, playing Kelowna.  I think for me, personally, I'm just going to treat it like any other game," said Papirny, "We played Everett there in the states and they're a top-ranked team right now so I think I'll just treat it like that type of game."

  Defenceman Eric Roy also didn't practice the last two days after missing Tuesday's game while top goal scorer Richard Nejezchleb will miss the first of several games for Brandon Friday while he represents the Czech Republic for the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championship.

Chaff....Friday's game is the annual Teddy Bear Toss.  Fans are urged to bring a new stuffed toy or a toque to throw on the ice after Brandon's first goal, with the items donated to the Brandon-Westman Christmas Cheer Registry...fans attending Saturday's home game against Moose Jaw are asked to donate a new unwrapped toy or non-perishable food item for the Westman & Area Christmas Dinner...former Wheat King Geordie Maguire (shoulder) is expected to be out of the Regina Pats' lineup until after their Christmas break...even though the WHL electronic scoresheet says otherwise, former Wheat King and Victoria captain Jordan Fransoo (upper body) remained out of the Royals' lineup for their 4-3 overtime win in Swift Current on Thursday.

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