Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Wheat Kings Add to Blazers Misery

Jesse Gabrielle had a goal and an assist in Tuesday's win
  Rihards Bukarts scored a pair of goals to pace the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 5-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers on Tuesday night.

  Jayce Hawryluk had a goal and an assist for Brandon in his first game back after a two-game suspension while rookie Jesse Gabrielle also had a goal and an assist for the Wheat Kings.

  The Wheat Kings weren't at the top of their game, but did pick up their eighth win in their last 13 contests to improve to 17-14-2-0 on the season.

  "I didn't think we used our speed or moved the puck as well as we can when we play well," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game show, "Happy with the win, not going to be critical when we win the game, but I know we can play better than we did tonight."

  Hawryluk made his presence back in the lineup felt immediately, scoring on his first shift of the contest 1:37 into the first period to give Brandon a 1-0 lead that held up until the first intermission.

  The teams then exchanged goals in the early stages of the second period, with the Wheat Kings and Blazers combining to score four times in a four minute and 43 second span with Bukarts first of the night at 6:58 giving Brandon a 3-2 advantage at the end of the fire drill.

  Gabrielle scored his goal with 6:06 left in the middle frame and Bukarts second of the night was the lone goal of the third period.

  Gabrielle has four goals and seven points in his last eight games after tallying just one point in his first 11 games of the season.

  "(Coach Kelly) McCrimmon is working us into the lineup instead of just throwing us out there.  He's starting to trust us with the systems, and he's really helping all of us out with everything in practice," said Gabrielle, "30 games into the season, it's definitely a lot easier for me to stay up wtih the game."

  Peter Quenneville also scored for the Wheat Kings while Jordan Papirny stopped 31 shots in the Brandon net.

  Papirny got the call in the net for the 16th time in 17 games as Curtis Honey, who just returned to the lineup on the weekend after a 14-game absence, sat out Tuesday's contest because of illness.

  The victory moved Brandon into a tie for fifth-place in the WHL's Eastern Conference, five points behind the Conference leaders.

Chaff...Brandon defenceman Eric Roy also missed Tuesday's contest and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury...Kamloops captain Matt Needham left the game after being hit in the head by teammate Sam Grist's dump-in attempt in the first period...the loss was the 13th in a row for the Blazers, which sets a franchise record...the Red Deer Rebels dealt the WHL rights to defenceman Matt Dumba Tuesday, sending them to Portland along with a conditional 3rd round pick in the 2014 Bantam Draft pick (if Dumba doesn't report to Portland) in exchange for F Presten Kopeck and three conditional picks, a 2nd round in 2014, 2nd round in 2015 and 2nd or 3rd round in 2016 (if Dumba does report to Portland)...Prince George attracted just 1,410 fans to their home game Tuesday, a 3-1 loss to Kootenay.  The Cougars are averaging a league-low 1,638 fans through 18 home games this season and have had a crowd of over 2,000 just twice.

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