Thursday, 5 November 2015

Home Again for Wheat Kings

James Shearer
  James Shearer will finally get a chance to play in front of family and friends on Friday night when the Wheat Kings host the Victoria Royals, Brandon's first home game in three weeks.

  The 18-year old Brandon product joined the Wheat Kings just before they embarked on an eight-game road trip, and has yet to play a Western Hockey League game in his hometown.

  "Ya'know, it's pretty exciting to get to play a home for the first time in a while here and for the team I've always wanted to so I think it'll be a lot of fun," said Shearer after practice on Thursday, "I think there'll be a little bit of nerves but I know I get them before every single game.  I just think it'll be an extra special game for me."

  The Wheat Kings went 6-2-0-0 on the trip with Shearer playing on all eight games on the Wheat Kings' road trip, going pointless with a +3 rating.

  He eventually found himself in an expanded role on the club's penalty-kill unit, and seemed to get more comfortable as the trip unfolded.

  "As I kept playing along and you get to learn some new tricks and what-not," said Shearer, "You learn the speed and what to do and I think I've definitely got more comfortable each game."

  Brandon is looking for a fourth straight win against the Royals on Friday night.

  The club won their last three games with backup goaltender Logan Thompson allowing just six goals in getting three consecutive starts.

Jordan Papirny
  Jordan Papirny had allowed 11 goals in his last two starts on the trip, just the second time in his WHL career he's allow five or more goals in back-to-back starts.

  Papirny got a chance to refresh and re-focus and is looking forward to getting back on track.

  "Things didn't go well those couple of games but that's part of the sport and part of the position," said Papriny, who's six minutes shy of 7,000 for his WHL career, "Being a goalie, everything is under the microscope.  I think that's one of my skills is being able to mentally rebound and getting a couple of days off really helped.  I'm really looking forward to this weekend."

  Brandon enters Friday's game in a tie for second-place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the front-running Prince Albert Raiders.

  Friday's game also marks an important stretch for Wheat Kings.

  In addition to hosting the Western Conference leading Royals Friday and visiting Swift Current Saturday, Brandon also has home games against Red Deer, Lethbridge and Prince Albert next week -- three Eastern Conference teams right next to them in the upper echolon of the Eastern Conference standings.

Chaff...the matchup between the Royals and the Wheat Kings features two head coaches who will be working collaboratively next week and later this year.  Victoria head coach Dave Lowry will have the same position with Team WHL for next week's CHL Canada/Russia series while Brandon's Kelly McCrimmon will be an assistant coach with the squad.  The duo will also have those same roles for the Canadian Junior team for the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championship...the Wheat Kings were #5 in this week's Canadian Hockey League Top-10 rankings, up three spots from the previous week...Brandon F Stelio Mattheos had an assist in Canada-Black's 3-2 loss to Canada-Red Thursday in quarter-final action at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge...Brandon F Reid Duke will play in his 200th career WHL game on Friday.

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