Saturday, 1 February 2014

Wheat Kings Bust Losing Skid

The Wheat Kings broke a 3-game losing streak Saturday/
  The Brandon Wheat Kings snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday night.

  Rihards Bukarts scored twice in hi return to the Brandon lineup while Jordan Papirny made 33 saves in the Wheat Kings’ net.

  Bukarts, who missed Friday’s game in Calgary due to a one-game suspension, opened the scoring with a power-play goal 1:37 into the second period and also netted the insurance goal, extending Brandon’s lead to 3-1 at the 11:53 mark of the third period.

  “Early in the game, I thought he great jump and really gave us a boost having him back in our lineup,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show.

  Bukarts extended his point-scoring streak to six games (6 G, 2 A), and is second among WHL rookies in goals (21) and tied for third in points (40) with teammate Peter Quenneville.

  His opening goal gave the Wheat Kings their first lead since midway through the second period on Tuesday in Edmonton, a span for over 170 minutes.

  “Because of that , it helped us sustain the game that we were hoping to play,” said McCrimmon, “I thought, for the most part, our guys stuck to our systems and our foundation throughout.”

  Eric Roy and Jesse Gabrielle also scored for the Wheat Kings while Cameron Hebig was the only Blade to beat Brandon netminder Jordan Papirny.

  Coming off a humbling 7-4 loss in Calgary on Friday, it was interesting to see how the Wheat Kings would react in Saturday’s contest.

  The response, for the most part, was a positive one.

  “Points are everything, of course, and that’s what we’re here for is for two points, but there were a lot of other factors we me tonight,” said McCrimmon, “Questions that needed to be answered for our guys and for our team, and I think we responded very positively.”

  The victory coupled with Swift Current’s 6-2 home-ice loss to Prince George lifted the Wheat Kings back into a tie for first-place in the WHL’s East Division.

  Brandon’s next game is Wednesday, when they entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers.

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