Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Big Week Opens for Wheat Kings

Ryley Lindgren
  The Brandon Wheat Kings look for their ninth win in 11 games Wednesday night when they entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The Wheat Kings will be without top centre John Quenneville for the sixth straight game, although he did practice in a no-contact jersey on Tuesday.

  Rookie Ryley Lindgren has seen more ice-time with the Wheat Kings during Quenneville's absence, and he's enjoying the extra responsibility.

  "It's something I've been looking forward to for a long-time now.  I'm just waiting my time out here and I finally got the opportunity, unfortunately, with Johnny going down here," said Lindgren after practice on Tuesday, "It was a chance for someone to step up and I wanted to be that guy so I'm just trying to do my best and help the guys get two points."

  Lindgren was initially playing on a line with Jayce Hawryluk and Richard Nejezchleb after Quenneville went down, but has bounced around with some other players in the last couple of Brandon games.

  The East St. Paul, Manitoba product says he tries to maintain his same game regardless of who his linemates are.

  "I just try to play the same game every day.  I want to be consistent in the league," said Lindgren, "I just keep skating, keep shooting the puck, keep moving my feet and, hopefully, things work out."

  Brandon enters the game tied with Swift Current for first-place in the East Division and three points behind Medicine Hat for fourth-place in the Eastern Conference after the Broncos lost 5-2 in Prince Albert on Tuesday while the Tigers were 4-1 winners in Regina.

  The Wheat Kings open a home-and-home with Swift Current Friday and then visit Medicine Hat on Tuesday, making this next week a pretty important one for the club.

  "We're fighting for top spot in our division, obviously with Swift Current right there with is, and Medicine Hat right ahead of us for home positioning in the top four in the Conference," said Brandon defenceman Colton Waltz, "So, huge games and very tough opponents."

  Brandon brings a 27-19-5-1 record into Tuesday's game including a 16-6-2-0 home-ice record.

  The Wheat Kings are one of seven WHL teams with a .700 or better winning percentage on home ice and have gone 8-1-1-0 in their last ten home games.

Chaff...the annual CKLQ Wheat Kings' Sportsman's Dinner takes place on Thursday, with Hockey Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier and Gord Stellick the guest speakers.  Stellick will be my guest on the second intermission of Wednesday night's Wheat Kings' broadcast on CKLQ...the WHL Goaltender of the Month is Winnipeg Jets' draft pick Eric Comrie (kom-ree).  The Tri-City Americans' netminder had an 8-2-1 record with a 1.35 goals against average and .962 save percentage in 11 appearances last month...the WHL Player of the Month is Todd Fiddler of the Prince George Cougars.  Fiddler amassed 16 goals and 29 points in 14 games in January.

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