The Brandon Whet Kings stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games Saturday night with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Calgary Hitmen.
Rihards Bukarts had Brandon’s goal in regulation and a goal in the shootout while John Quenneville netted the shootout winner for the Wheat Kings.
It was a game that seemed to have the intensity, and the feel of a playoff game.
“It sure did,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “Great game for our team to be involved in, I think these games make your better. Great game I thought, for both teams.”
In a game that was a goaltenders’ battle, Jordan Papirny made 36 saves in the Brandon net and stopped 2 of 3 shootout attempts to best Mack Shields, who made 29 saves in regulation and overtime for Calgary.
That included a spectacular diving glove save on Jayce Hawryluk on a first period power-play for Brandon that’s a likely candidate for save of the year.
Papirny has stopped 168 of 175 shots over his last five starts, going 5-0 with a 1.40 goals against average and .960 save percentage.
“The team’s playing well, and we’re all getting along really well,” said Papirny, “To have a great team really gives me confidence to play in the net.”
The stretch in the last ten days for Papirny came after he went through a mini-slump, something the 18-year old says he broke out of by just going back to the basics.
“For me, that was tracking the puck. Every practice, I would just follow every puck in, whether it was tracking the puck to the back of the net, that’s what it takes,” said Papirny, “Playing a little more aggressive. Me and (Wheat Kings’ goaltending coach) Matt Cockell were talking about it, taking the extra step outside your paint when you have the time and I think that’s something I’ve managed really well.”
Elkhorn product Travis Sanheim scored the lone goal for Calgary, a power-play marker at 13:15 of the 2nd period that came just over seven minutes after Bukarts had given Brandon a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal for the Wheat Kings.
Brandon improved to 16-3-1-0 with the victory and snapped a 12-game regular season losing streak against Calgary, beating the Hitmen for the first time since November 4, 2011.
The Wheat Kings are idle until Friday, but there’s action at Westman Communications Group Place on Tuesday.
Team WHL and the Russian Selects are in action Remembrance Day for the second game of the Subway Super Series.
The Wheat Kings are represented on both sides of the contest.
John Quenneville and Jayce Hawryluk will play for Team WHL while blueliner Ivan Provorov will play for the Russian Selects.
Chaff...D Ryan Pilon (upper body), F Ty Lewis (upper body), F Nolan Patrick, D Kale Clague and F Tanner Kaspick (all at U17’s) were Brandon’s scratches Saturday...Patrick finished with five assists and five points for Canada-Red at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge while Clague had one goal and one point in four games with Canada-Black and Kaspick had one goal and one point in five games with Canada-White...attendance Saturday was 4,012, pushing Brandon’s season average through eight home games to 3,978.