|Jayce Hawryluk returns to Brandon's lineup Friday.|
The teams are currently second and third in the Eastern Conference standings, and third and fourth in the Western Hockey League's overall standings.
"We know Red Deer is a going to be a top team moving forward and we need to have our best game against them," said Wheat Kings' captain Macoy Erkamps on Thursday, "They're a team we're going to need to beat in the coming months to get what we want. They're going to be a good team, they're going to come out hard. I think we're a good team too and I think it's going to be a good game."
The Wheat Kings have yet to score a goal in the head-to-head matchups between the two teams this season, dropping a 4-0 home-ice decision on November 11th and a 10-0 decision in Red Deer on January 2nd.
"To be honest, we haven't talked about our games with Red Deer. We're only looking at the next game," offered Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "Our guys are excited...we've had a good week, we're ready and we're looking forward to a really good challenge."
Brandon will welcome Jayce Hawryluk back to their lineup Friday after the Florida Panthers' draft pick sat out five games with a league-imposed suspension.
The suspension came after Hawryluk was assessed a charging major and game misconduct he was assessed in the first period of Brandon's victory over Moose Jaw on December 29th, a hit that caused an upper body injury to Warriors' rookie defenceman Josh Brook.
"It's just a freak accident. It didn't turn out well but it's over, it's in the past and time to move on," said Hawryluk Thursday, "I'm not going to change the way I play this weekend just because of that. I've been suspended before and it hasn't affected me. I just need to watch sometimes and be a little more careful but I have to keep playing hard-nosed and keep playing the body."
Hawryluk returns leaves the Wheat Kings with two players out of their lineup, forwards Tanner Kaspick (upper body) and Stelio Mattheos (upper body).
Brandon could run their home-ice winning streak to seven games with a victory on Friday night.
The Wheat Kings enter Friday's action four points behind the second-place Rebels in the Conference standings with two games in hand.
Chaff...newcome Jaeger White is expected to make his Wheat Kings' debut on Friday...Brandon F Nolan Patrick is on a three-game point streak (3 G, 2 A) and has points in 17 of the last 19 games (8 G, 16 A)...Tyler Coulter is also on a three-game point streak (1 G, 3 A) and has points in 14 of the last 15 games...F Adam Helewka has points in all six games he's played with Red Deer since being acquired from Spokane (7 G, 6 A)...Rebels' G Rylan Toth has shutout in three of his last five starts, and has a 1.18 GAA and .959 SPCT in five starts this month.