Thursday, 26 February 2015

No Petering Out for Wheat Kings' Captain

Peter Quenneville
  Brandon Wheat Kings' captain Peter Quenneville is quietly putting together a strong second half of the Western Hockey League season.

  Quenneville suffered through four goalless streaks of six games or longer in the first half but has found his stride since the Christmas break, with the Columbus Blue Jackets' draft pick notching 11 goals and 26 points in 26 games in the second half.

  "I'm trying to play perfect systematic hockey and just be hard to play against and not give anything up, and I think that's shown in the plus/minus category," said Quenneville Thursday, "We've been able to contribute 5-on-5 and not give much up so I think that makes us hard to play against and it's helped the team win."

  The 20-year old Quenneville is riding an eight-game point-scoring streak (4 G, 7 A) and has point in 16 of the last 17 games (8 G, 13 A), leaving him third on the Wheat Kings in scoring this season with 18 goals and 41 assists for 59 points in 61 games.

  "I've found that if I can get to the right place, it'll buy me a little bit of extra time," added Quenneville, "If I can find those pockets on the ice where I'm not really anybody's man, that can make me that much more effective, hopefully buy me a little extra time, and make a good play that ends up on the back of the net."

  Quenneville is on the verge of joining Brandon's 20-goal club, which already includes six members in Tim McGauley (37), Rihards Bukarts (27), Nolan Patrick (26), Morgan Klimchuk (25), Jayce Hawryluk (24) and Reid Duke (20).

  Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings are on the verge of clinch the East Division title for the first time since 2010, and can do so with a victory on home-ice Saturday against the Kootenay Ice (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  "Always nice to throw a few banners up in the rafters when you get the chance, especially with the way the division slipped away last year was kind of unfortunate," said Quenneville, "Hopefully, we can clinch that...maybe get to 50 wins here and continue to roll into playoffs."

  The Wheat Kings are also eight points away from clinching their first Eastern Conference title since 2005, and are two points behind the Kelowna Rockets for first-place in the WHL's overall standings.

Chaff...F Nolan Patrick (upper body), F Reid Duke (lower body) and D Kale Clague (lower body) were all bystanders for practice Thursday, likely ruling the trio out from returning this weekend...F Braylon Shmyr, who left Wednesday's game early with an apparent leg injury, did not practice Thursday...Brandon D Eric Roy will play his 312th game Friday, moving him into sole possession of fourth-place on the Wheat Kings' all-time list...Brandon is 18-3-0-0 against Central Division teams this season including a perfect 9-0-0-0 record on home-ice...Wheat Kings' prospect James McIsaac had a goal to help Manitoba beat Nova Scotia 4-1 and fellow prospect Jeremy Klessens had a goal for Alberta in their 6-1 win over New Brunswick in quarter-final action at the Canada Winter Games Thursday. Manitoba and Alberta will play in one of the semifinals on Friday (6:05 p.m. CST)...Friday night is Player Card Giveaway night as the first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a full set of 2014-15 Wheat Kings player cards.

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