Monday, 11 April 2016

Venue Shifts in East Semifinal

Macoy Erkamps
  The Brandon Wheat Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors resume their Eastern Conference semifinal on Tuesday night in Moose Jaw (7:35 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

  The Wheat Kings got their desired results in the opening two games, winning both on home-ice by 5-3 and 5-2 scores on Friday and Saturday.

  However, the club is prepared for what they feel will be a strong push-back from the Warriors in Game Three.

  “We expect their best game, and we’re ready for them,” said Brandon captain Macoy Erkamps on Monday, “We expect it to be more physical.  They’re fighting for their lives and we know they don’t want to do down three games to none.”

  The opening two games of the series in Brandon featured a fast-pace pushed by both teams, and Erkamps says he doesn’t think that’ll significantly change in the next two games in Moose Jaw.

  The road team would  normally have a tough task going into the opponent’s building, but the Wheat Kings have had good success in Moose Jaw in recent years, going 14-4-0-2 at Mosiac Place since it opened in the fall of 2011.

  “I think all the guys are comfortable playing in that setting, but we’ve never played there in playoffs,” said Erkamps, “You never know what might happen so we’re just preparing for everything.”

  The Wheat Kings continue to get a lot of offensive support from their blueline, with Kale Clague, Ivan Provorov, Erkamps and James Shearer all ranking in the Top-20 in defenceman scoring in the WHL playoffs.

  Clague leads the way with seven points (4 G, 3 A) while Provorov has six points (2 G, 4 A) in the last three games and was named the WHL Player of the Week on Monday.

  Brandon puts a six-game playoff winning streak on the line on Tuesday, and Erkamps says they know they need to continue to tweak to improve their overall game.

  “I think quick exits out of our defensive zone.  I think we play a way better defensive game when we have quick exits,” said Erkamps, “Tape-to-tape passes, executions and cleaning up our neutral zone is huge.  It was huge against Edmonton and that’s where we need to bear down in these road games.”

  Don’t expect any changes in the Wheat Kings’ lineup Tuesday night, with the club as healthy as they’ve been all season.

Chaff...Wheat Kings’ F John Quenneville carries a five-game point streak (5 G, 5 A) into Tuesday’s contest...Brandon F Reid Duke is also on a five-game point streak (4 G, 5 A)...Jordan Papirny is 13-2-0 with a 1.87 GAA and .929 SPCT in his last 15 starts... Six wins in this year’s playoffs have moved Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon into 6th-place on the WHL’s all-time list for playoff wins with 70...former Wheat Kings’ captain Mark Stone was one of 18 players named to Canada’s team for the 2016 World Hockey Championship on Monday.

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