Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Battle of Kings Opens Thursday

John Quenneville
  The 'Royal Rumble' begins Thursday night when the Brandon Wheat Kings host the Edmonton Oil Kings to start their Eastern Conference quarter-final series (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  It's the third straight year and fourth time in five years the teams have met in the playoffs, with the teams changing positions as favourites or higher seeds in the process.

  "Outside of Regina, that's as tight of a rivalry as it gets for us," said Brandon forward John Quenneville on Wednesday, "Playing these guys when they were at their best and, now, us kind of flopping positions with them over the last two years."

  Brandon enters the playoffs on a roll, having won nine straight games en route to securing the Eastern Conference pennant for the second straight year.

  The Oil Kings, meanwhile, lost 13 of their last 19 games before winning a play-in game for the final playoff spot in Medicine Hat on Tuesday.

  While he admits the Oil Kings do some things they need to be aware of, Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon believes the biggest key to the series will be how they execute.

  "There are things we have to do in terms of how we play that allow us to be at our best," said McCrimmon, "That'll be our focus in terms of the games."

  "We play a style of game that if we play, we show up to the rink, it's really tough to beat our team," added Quenneville, "If we do the trademark things that we want to do and execute them well and have individuals step up and make plays...that's what we need to do to be successful in the first round."

  It looks like Tyler Coulter will remain out of Brandon's lineup to start the playoffs because of a lower body injury but Ty Lewis should return Thursday night after missing the last ten games of the regular season with an upper body injury.

  Lewis was slotted in Coulter's spot on the wing with Nolan Patrick and Jayce Hawryluk in practice the last three days.

Chaff...Edmonton could be without F Lane Bauer for the start of the series after he left Tuesday's game in Medicine Hat with an injury and did not return...Edmonton G Patrick Dea has been out since March 11th because of a lower body injury while rookie F Kob Mohr (upper body) is also out...the Wheat Kings went 1-1-1-1 against the Oil Kings during the regular season, winning their final meeting 8-3 in Brandon on February 19th...Brandon finished 4th in power-play (23.4%) and 5th in penalty-kill (81.4%) during the regular season while Edmonton was 9th (22.4%) and 17th (77.1%) respectively...the other seven first round playoff series (Lethbridge vs. Regina, Red Deer vs. Calgary, Prince Albert vs. Moose Jaw, Victoria vs. Spokane, Kelowna vs. Kamloops, Seattle vs. Prince George, Everett vs. Portland) all begin on Friday.

1 comment:

Vegasbound01 said...

What's happening for welcome home for our new wchl champs.
Fantastic series
When do they arrive back in Brandon