Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Carrying Momentum Key for Brandon

Chad Robinson
  The Brandon Wheat Kings look to keep their momentum going when they host the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday night (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The Wheat Kings snapped an eight-game winless streak Saturday with a 7-4 home-ice win over the Moose Jaw Warriors.

  "That was a bounce-back game for us.  I thought we played okay against Calgary (on Friday) too, but it just wasn't good enough," said Brandon centre Chad Robinson on Tuesday, "We just need to keep the momentum going forward here."

  Brandon finally had a breather in their schedule this week.

  Saturday's game against Moose Jaw was the Wheat Kings' 15th game in a 26-day span and ninth game in 14 days.

  "Our schedule was ridiculous," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on his weekly Coaches' Corner show on CKLQ, "15 games in 26 days, we just finished nine games in 14 days, we've been to Alberta twice.  Not fair to our players, I didn't think, in any shape or form and I think a real contributor to the number of injuries that we had during that stretch."

  In fact, the four days between the home games is the longest stretch in the second half where the Wheat Kings haven't been either playing or travelling.

  "The last couple of days, we've already started to feel a little more rested," added Robinson, "I think it was well-needed for our team, and hopefully we can use it to our advantage moving forward."

  From a lineup standpoint, the Wheat Kings should be much better off Wednesday as well.

  Defenceman Colton Waltz returns after serving his three-game suspension while Richard Nejezchleb and Rene Hunter are also expected to return from injury.

  Peter Quenneville was the only player on the sidelines for practice on Tuesday, with the 19-year old listed as week-to-week with a lower body injury.

  "The guys were sort of playing all over the place," said Robinson, "We had Jens (Meilleur) on 'D', which he did really well for himself back there, but it's good to get back to where guys are comfortable."

  Brandon enters Wednesday's contest in seventh-place in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of eighth-place Prince Albert and four up on ninth-place Red Deer.

Chaff...Wednesday's game is the first back in Brandon for former Wheat Kings Nick Walters and Taylor Cooper since they were traded to Lethbridge for Ryan Pilon on November 16...Brandon captain Ryan Pulock brings a three-game goal-scoring streak into Wednesday's contest...Wawanesa product Jordan Thomson is set to suit for the WHL's Saskatoon Blades, at least temporarily.  Thomson will join the Blades this week and is scheduled to play three games with them this weekend including Saturday's game against Brandon.  The 17-year old decided not to join Saskatoon after the Blades acquired his rights from Kamloops on January 8th.  He has been playing with the MJHL's Dauphin Kings.

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