The club is third in the Western Hockey League with a 2.52 goals against average, and are on pace to allow fewer than 200 goals this season.
Brandon’s franchise record for fewest goals against in a season is 187, set in 2002-2003, while the club also allowed 199 goals against during the 2004-2005 season.
“I think guys realize that we don’t have the same offence we did last year, and are focused on stopping in the house and getting pucks out (of the defensive zone) as fast as possible,” said Brandon captain Macoy Erkamps on Thursday, “We’re going to take pride in it...it still needs to improve but it’s going well so far.”
The Wheat Kings have allowed 61 goals against in their first 23 games this season, which would put them at 191 through a 72-game season.
Brandon’s increase in protecting their own end comes inspite of missing what is likely their best defensive forward in Tim McGauley for most of this season.
The club’s structure in their own zone is much improved over last season.
“Goes know where to be, and guys know where their teammates are going to be,” said Erkamps, “When you’re in the same situation and you know where each other is going to be, it’s a lot easier to get pucks out, to get pucks to your teammates to get them out and not turn it over on the blueline and stuff.”
Brandon is +19 in goals for/against in even strength situations so far this season, while another thing helping the Wheat Kings keep their goals against down recently is an improved penalty-kill.
The club is 19-for-21 in their last six games – a 90.5 per cent success rate.
The Wheat Kings will be looking for a third straight win tonight when they open a two-game Alberta road trip in Lethbridge (7:30 p.m., 880 CKLQ).
Brandon hasn’t played since a 2-1 home-ice victory over the Regina Pats last Friday, but will play 12 games over the next 23 days leading into their Christmas break.
Jordan Thomson will make his Wheat Kings’ debut Friday night after being acquired in a trade with Swift Current on Wednesday.