Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Wheat Kings Prep for Rebels

Kelly McCrimmon
  The Wheat Kings got down to the business of preparing for an opponent at practice on Wednesday.

  The Red Deer Rebels advanced to the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday night, setting up a matchup with the Wheat Kings.

  "They're built for this year so they're an older, talented team that's got really good depth at all positions," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Wednesday, "They're built to win so that poses a lot of different challenges in terms of matchups, being strong enough to play against them."

  The teams are facing different scenerios as they enter the third round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.

  Brandon advanced with a five-game win over Moose Jaw, finishing that series last Friday, while the Rebels moved on with a Tuesday night home-ice Game 7 victory over Regina.

  For Brandon, that extra rest might be a factor as they prepare for this series.

  "We were able to balance getting rest versus continuing to stay at a high level from a conditioning standpoint," added McCrimmon, "As well, lots of time to work on systems, structure...all the things that are going to be important as we get into round three."

  The Rebels and Wheat Kings split their four-game season series, with Brandon winning the final two matchups.

  McCrimmon said Wednesday that they aren't going to change a lot about the way the played in the opening two rounds, but he also acknowledged that their margin for error is a lot less in this series.

  "As you go along, the level gets higher and more and more things are magnified," said McCrimmon, "You have to really have attention to detail.  We're going to have to play extremely well to win."

  It's the first time since 2003 that the Wheat Kings and Rebels have faced each other in the playoffs.

  2003 was the second straight year Brandon and Red Deer met in the Eastern Conference Final.

  The Rebels overcame a 3-1 series deficit in 2002 to eliminate Brandon in seven games while 2003 saw Red Deer emerge with a five-game victory.

  This year's Eastern Conference Final opens Friday night at Westman Communications Group Place.

Chaff...with the Scotty Munro Trophy-winning Victoria Royals losing out to Kelowna in Game 7 Tuesday night, the Wheat Kings are the highest seeded team remaining in the WHL playoffs meaning they'd have home-ice advantage the rest of the way...all 24 available players on the Wheat Kings' roster took to the ice for practice on Wednesday...the first 4,000 fans attending the series opener on Friday will receive a special edition #GoldRush Playoff Rally Towel, courtesy of Sunrise Credit Union, Montana’s Barbecue and Bar, Precision Toyota and The Brandon Sun.

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