Thursday, 11 December 2014

Duke Producing; Bukarts Set for Return

 
Reid Duke (in green) has the second most points
of an Wheat Kings' player since November 1st
  Reid Duke is looking to continue his consistent production as the Brandon Wheat Kings close out their first half schedule with three straight home games over the next five days.

  The 18-year old Duke has five goals and 16 points in the last 15 games and is second in team scoring since November 1st.

  "I've learned a lot, I know I've grown a ton as a player here so it's just something in my tookbox for moving onto the next level," said Duke after Thursday's practice, "You can never take it too much."

  Duke is averaging a point per game since joining the Wheat Kings in an early season trade with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and has settled in nicely after intially having to make the adjustment to a new team and a new style.

  "I'm sure everybody would need a little bit of an opening period coming to a new team but they took me in pretty easily and they made it an easy transition," said the Minnesota Wild draft pick, "Right now, I'm just reaping the rewards of that."

  Duke admits he's been pushed to a new level of work ethic by Wheat Kings' GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon in his time in Brandon, and he's found a new gear for himself.

  The Wheat Kings will host the Swift Current Broncos Friday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place) and then close out their pre-Christmas schedule by entertaining the Red Deer Rebels on Sunday and the Regina Pats on Tuesday.


Rihards Bukarts could return to
Brandon's lineup Friday
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  Rihards Bukarts looks poised to return to the Wheat Kings' lineup for Friday's tilt against Swift Current.

  Bukarts has missed the last six games with a lower body injury but practiced without restrictions on Thursday, which could signal an imminent return to the Brandon lineup.

  "I'm getting back, day-to-day so I'm pretty excited to come back," said Bukarts Thursday, "I'm feeling way better and pretty excited to be back with the boys, back with the team and looking forward to getting a winning streak going."

  Rookies Mark Matsuba and Ty Lewis are also practicing without restrictions and could also be ready to return from the injury list.

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  Brandon owns the Western Hockey League's best home-ice record so far this season.

  The Wheat Kings are 10-2-2-0 at Westman Place for a .786 winning percentage.

  Ivan Provorov leads the Wheat Kings with 19 points (4 G, 15 A) at home this season while Jayce Hawryluk has a team-high nine goals at home.

  Jordan Papirny has a 10-1-2 record with a 2.79 GAA and .914 SPCT in 13 home starts this season.

  The Wheat Kings haven't finished with the WHL's best home-ice record since going 28-6-0-2 during the 2009-2010 season.

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