Thursday, 12 February 2015

Gow Facing Ex-Mates; Quenneville Returns

Reid Gow
  The Brandon Wheat Kings look to push their winning streak to a season-high seven games Friday night when they host the Spokane Chiefs (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The game will include former Chiefs' captain Reid Gow playing against his former team for the first time in what will be a first-time experience for the Killarney, Manitoba product.

  "The only time it ever happened was the Red and White game in Spokane in training camp so it'll be very fun to play those guys, play my old buddies and my old coaches and GM, who were great," said Gow after Thursday's practice, "It's exciting to be part of something new and, hopefully, we can beat them."

  Gow didn't return to Spokane for a fifth season and joined the Wheat Kings in early January after spending the first half of the year with the University of Manitoba Bisons.

  The 20-year old re-iterated Thursday that he held no anomosity toward the Chiefs.

  "I want to play the best and what I'm capable of, I want to play well and it's a nerve-racking experience but no bad blood," said Gow, "I love all the boys and I don't know if I'll see any of them but it's exciting they're going to be here and they're going to play Brandon.  We'll be friends after the game but it's all business on the ice."

  Gow has points in four of the last five games and feels he's close to the form he's been at in recent seasons that's allowed him to be one of the top-scoring defencemen in the Western Hockey League.

  Gow isn't the only former Chief that could be in the Wheat Kings' lineup on Friday night.

  Goaltender Alex Moodie spent the first month of this season with Spokane before he was returned to the Saskatoon Blades and, eventually, traded to the Wheat Kings in late November.

  Moodie has missed the last five games with a suspected concussion but has been practicing this week.

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John Quenneville
  Centre John Quenneville is expected to return to the Wheat Kings' lineup Friday after missing four games with a suspected concussion.

  Quenneville said Thursday he's looking forward to finishing the season strongly, as the New Jersey Devils' 2014 first round pick admits he doesn't feel he's played to his full potential as of yet.

  "I struggled with injuries, they've held me back, and when I've come back from injuries, I haven't been able to find the stride that I had before I was injured," said Quenneville Thursday, "Once that happens, you get frustrated and frustration leads to bad habits and once you have bad habits, you're in a heap of trouble and I think that's what's happened to me."

  Quenneville has 16 goals and 35 points in 42 games this season and will enter a Brandon lineup that's riding a six-game winning streak.

  "With me coming back in the lineup, it changes things.  Obviously, it changes guys playing different positions, it changes what lines guys are on," said Quenneville, "I don't want to come in and destroy what the team has had but I think if I come in and play well, I'm going to make the team better and that's my goal."

  While Quenneville returns, it looks like defenceman Ivan Provorov and forward Jayce Hawryluk will remain on the shelf.

  Provorov hasn't practiced this week after suffering an upper body injury Saturday and Hawryluk, who's missed the last ten games with an upper body injury, practiced in a no-contact jersey again on Thursday.

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Chaff...Brandon product Tyson Verhelst could get the start in goal for Spokane on Friday night.  The 17-year old rookie is 10-6-0 with a 3.01 GAA and .902 SPCT with the Chiefs this season...Wheat Kings' F Tim McGauley takes an 11-game point-scoring streak into Friday games.  McGauley has eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points during the streak...Brandon D Eric Roy is currently tied with Don Dietrich for sixth-place all-time in defenceman scoring with 183 points...Wheat Kings' G Jordan Papirny has allowed three or fewer goals in eight straight starts, going 7-0-1 with a 2.10 GAA and .925 SPCT in that span...the Chiefs last visit to Brandon was December 7, 2012, with Spokane walking away with a 5-2 victory.  In fact, the Wheat Kings have lost three straight head-to-head games against the Chiefs.

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