The Wheat Kings have rebounded from a .500 record in November (5-5-0-0) to go 5-2-1 so far this month, moving themselves into sole possession of first-place in the East Division and within one point of top spot in the Eastern Conference.
“I don’t think we’ve had the most consistent first half, but I think we’re playing a better team game than last year,” said Brandon centre Nolan Patrick on Thursday, “Last year, I think we had a lot more skilled players and that’s why we could be down three goals and still win games. This year, we’re playing a better team game; we’re learning a lot more things than last year and I think it’ll pay off in the end here.”
Patrick will take a ten-game point streak (3 G, 12 A) into Friday night’s contest, the longest active streak in the Western Hockey League, and tied for the second longest in the league this season.
“It’s nice to see the points come in, put its obviously better to see the team start winning, especially at home the last couple of games,” said Patrick, “Those are two huge wins and we need to build off that. If we keep moving forward and get two wins (this weekend), we’ll have lots of momentum after the break.”
The Wheat Kings expect to ice the same lineup Friday as they have for their last three games, although goaltender Logan Thompson did participate fully in practice on Thursday.
He’s missed the last three games with an upper body injury.
Chaff...Brandon prospect Jarrod Gourley, a third round pick in the 2014 Bantam Draft, announced via twitter Thursday that he had committed to the Arizona State Sun Devils...Wheat Kings’ forwards Jayce Hawryluk and John Quenneville and the rest of the Canadian Junior Team will face Belarus in an exhibition game Saturday in Imatra, Finland...all 22 teams in the WHL are in action Friday and Saturday, and then the league’s Christmas break will take place from December 20-26. All 22 teams, including Brandon, will be back in action December 27th.