|Morgan Klimchuk had a goal and an assist Sunday.|
Rihards Bukarts scored twice for Brandon while Morgan Klimchuk and Peter Quenneville added a goal and an assist each in a balanced Wheat Kings’ attacks.
“Because we had the lead like we did, we were able to avoid having to face that challenge like you sometimes do so the start was everything,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “Guys were ready to play, executed some real nice plays to score to give is the lead and really not too many lapses, pretty complete game.”
Quintin Lisoway opened the scoring 2:26 into the first period with his second goal in three games while Braylon Shmyr and Tyler Coulter also scored for the Wheat Kings.
With backup goaltender Alex Moodie sidelined with an upper body injury, Jordan Papirny made his third start in as many days in the Wheat Kings’ net and stopped 22 of 24 shots.
Papirny has allowed three of fewer goals in eight straight starts, going 7-0-1 with a 2.10 goals against average and a .925 save percentage in that span.
The victory allowed the Wheat Kings to move past idle Kelowna and into first-place in the overall WHL standings.
Sitting atop the standings might be shortlived for the Wheat Kings with the Rockets in action Monday afternoon, but McCrimmon says they’ll enjoy it for now.
“As well as we’ve played since the Christmas break, we’re at least in the discussion with Kelowna,” said McCrimmon “We’re pushing them similar to what Medicine Hat was doing to us. It’s good incentive for our players.”
Brandon has won six in a row, are 12-0-0-1 in their last 13 games and are 17-2-0-1 since the Christmas break.
The Wheat Kings are 14 points ahead of second-place Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference standings.
Chaff...D Ivan Provorov (upper body) sat out Sunday’s contest after being injured in Saturday’s victory in Cranbrook. He’ll be re-evaluated this week but is initially listed as day-to-day...Tim McGauley had an assist in the third period to extend his point-scoring streak to 11 games...playing for the first time in 14 games, rookie D Mark Taraschuk finished with a +4 rating...in addition to Provorov, the WheatKings also scratched F Jayce Hawryluk (upper body), F John Quenneville (upper body), G Alex Moodie (upper body) and D Mark Matsuba...Brandon became the first Eastern Conference team to clinch a playoff spot on the weekend.