|Jordan Papirny was the #1 star in Saturday's victory.|
Jordan Papirny made 28 saves in the Wheat Kings' net while Reid Duke's shorthanded goal just under five minutes into the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and gave the Wheat Kings their first lead since the last game of their eight-game road trip Moose Jaw on November 1st.
Papirny had gone winless in his last four starts, posting a 4.94 goals against average and .844 save percentage in the process.
"Big difference. He was challenging, he was out of his crease, he was really good on scrambles around the net, he was assertive," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game show, "I've seen him play a lot of games just like that one, it was really good for him and really good to see."
"I felt really good tonight. A lot of confidence and I think that just ties into having a good week of practice," said Papirny, who tied George Maneluk for 7th all-time Saturday by playing in his 122nd career game as a Wheat King, "As a team, we collectively played really well tonight and that gave us a huge advantage in the game."
Papirny admits to putting some extra time in to try and regain his form, and that extra work clearly paid off on Saturday.
"I actually went back and watched some playoff games from last year, and I actually video every practice we have so just to watch that every now and then," said Papirny, "Just take a look back and see what was going well and just maintain that...just taking out the positives and working with that. You gain a lot of confidence from watching those."
Russian-born players Egor Babenko of the Hurricanes and Ivan Provorov of the Wheat Kings exchanged goals 68 seconds apart early the second period, the only scoring in the opening 40 minutes, while Tyler Coulter and Luke Harrison scored empty-net goals for Brandon in the final minute of the third period.
The victory moved the Wheat Kings to within a single point of East Division leading Prince Albert in the standings.
Brandon has a first-place showdown with the Raiders on Sunday (4:00 p.m. at Westman Communications Group Place).
Chaff...Papirny also passed Jamie Hodson for 5th-place on Brandon's all-time list for minutes played on Saturday...Harrison's goal was his first as a Wheat King...rookie F Ty Lewis assisted on Provorov's second period goal for his first career WHL point...F John Quenneville returned to the Brandon lineup after missing three games with a lower body injury...F Tim McGauley (upper body), F Braylon Shmyr (upper body), F Linden McCorrister (healthy) and D Mark Matsuba (lower body) were the Wheat Kings' scratches...attendance was 4,905, Brandon's third-largest crowd of the season that pushed the Wheat Kings' average to 4,353 through nine home games.