Monday, 13 April 2015

Pats, Wheat Kings Shift to Regina

Macoy Erkamps
  You'd have a tough time knocking the smile off Macoy Erkamps face these days!

  The Brandon Wheat Kings' blueliner is participating in the Western Hockey League playoffs for the first time in his four-year WHL career.

  Erkamps is enjoying every minute of it so far, and feels post-season hockey fits his style of play to a tee.

  "I'm having a lot of fun out there.  It's an exciting time of year for this team and we're having a great time," said Erkamps on Monday, "Playing that gritty game...physical in the corners and every game meaning something important and I'm having fun playing and I know the other guys are too."

  Erkamps scored the key goal in Brandon's Game #2 victory on Saturday night, notching the Wheat Kings' fourth goal with 2.5 seconds left in the second period that gave Brandon a two-goal lead for the third time in the contest.

  The Delta, B.C. product has two goals and four points in seven playoff games, giving him four goals and eight points in his last nine games overall.

  The Wheat Kings will visit Regina Tuesday and Wednesday (7:30 p.m. (CDT), 880 CKLQ) for the next two games of the series and will be looking to continue their remarkable run of success on the road this season.

  Brandon tied a franchise record during the regular season with 26 road victories and won all three games in Edmonton during their first round victory over the Oil Kings.

  "We haven't played there in playoff this year or anything like that.  We know they're going to be coming out in their home barn and wanted that big win," said Erkamps, who played 269 career regular season games before playing his playoff contest this spring, "Game three is the most important game so far and we're looking to come out flying."

  The Wheat Kings' lineup for Game #3 is very much up in the air.

  Jayce Hawryluk and Colton Waltz, who were both injured in Game #2 on Saturday night, did not practice with the team on Monday.

  An update on the duos' status likely won't be known until closer to gametime Tuesday.

  Meanwhile, Morgan Klimchuk participated in the first 30 minutes of practice Monday before leaving the ice.

  Klimchuk has missed the last four games with an undisclosed injury.

  The lineup isn't the only thing the Wheat Kings anticipate changing heading into Game #3.

  Erkamps feels they have to play with a lot more poise and discipline than they did Saturday, a game in which the teams combined for 21 minor penalties.

  "I think our team is going to be looking for better discipline kind of game.  They're good on the power-play, they make some good plays and we just have to stay off that and, hopefully, get some power-plays our way," said Erkamps, "It's going to come down to discipline for both of these teams and I think that's one place where we have to improve."

  Brandon scored three power-play goals Saturday and is 9-for-27 (33.3%) with the man advantage in the playoffs.

Chaff...Brandon F Rihards Bukarts, who set a club record for goals by an import player during the regular season, takes a six-game point streak into Tuesday's game (2 G, 7 A)...Brandon was 3-1-0-0 in Regina during the regular season...Wheat Kings' GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon collected his 58th career playoff coaching win Saturday, moving him past Lorne Molleken and into 11th-place on the WHL's all-time list...Pats' VP of Hockey Operations and Head Coach John Paddock was officially introduced as a 2015 inductee into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.

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