Friday, 7 November 2014

The Boys are Back in Town

Colton Waltz (in black) in practice Thursday
  The Brandon Wheat Kings are back on home-ice for the first time in nearly three weeks Friday night, hosting the Saskatoon Blades (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The Wheat Kings are coming off a seven-game road trip that saw the club win six times and improve to 14-3-1-0 overall, one of the best starts to a season in the franchise's history.

  "I think our work ethic is a big thing, we're working hard out there.  This team has a lot of talent and we're taking advantage of it," said Wheat Kings' alternate captain Colton Waltz on Thursday, "We've been able to outscore opponents, but there are things we still need to work on."

  Brandon has a favourable schedule for the next three weeks, playing seven of their next eight games on home-ice, so there is potential for the Wheat Kings to put even more daylight behind themselves and their pursuers in the East Division before the end of the month.

  For now, the club is concentrating on Friday's game, the first contest after the club's annual October excursion that always seems to be a tough game for the home-side to play.

  Time will tell if this week did anything different in preparation for that first game back, but they certainly tried to get back to a normal routine.

  "I think the biggest things were catching up on our rest and, when we got back on the ice, make sure we got our legs back under us," said Waltz, " Getting back on the ice and just keeping simple in that first game."

  The Wheat Kings will once again be without defenceman Ryan Pilon Friday as he misses his third straight game with an upper body injury.

  Rookie forward Ty Lewis also remains out with a arm injury while Nolan Patrick, Kale Clague and Tanner Kaspick will miss both games this weekend while finishing their time with Hockey Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Chaff...Rihards Bukarts was named Brandon's IMPACT Player of the Month for September/October on Thursday...Brandon enters Friday with a four-point lead over Medicine Hat for top spot in the Eastern Conference...the Blades are dealing with a rash of injuries including Wawanesa product Jordan Thomson, who suffered a concussion Tuesday and is out indefinitely...D Eric Roy is slated to play his 269th career game Friday, which would move him past Brett Dickie and into 16th-place on the Wheat Kings' all-time list...Brandon moved up one spot to #5 in this week's CHL Top-10 rankings.

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