Monday, 25 April 2016

Wheat Kings, Rebels Set for Game Three

The Wheat Kings practiced in Red Deer Monday in preparation
for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
  It’s Game Three of the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Final Tuesday night when the Brandon Wheat Kings visit the Red Deer Rebels (7:38 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

  Brandon holds a 2-0 lead in the Best-of-Seven series, creating a near must-win situation for the hometown Rebels Tuesday.

  “We need our best game of the season...I think that’s what it’s going to take to win here,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon after Brandon’s practice Monday in Red Deer, “Red Deer have been really strong on home-ice, winning all four games of their seven game series with Regina.  It’s going to be a real good test for our team.  We’re comfortable we were able to get the two wins on home-ice and now the next test will be winning in here.”

  The Wheat Kings have had some decent success in Red Deer in recent years, winning seven of their last ten regular season visits including a 2-1 victory in their last trip into the Centrium on January 30th.

  Brandon’s back-to-back wins to open the series didn’t come without some adversity, as Brandon had to overcome one-goal deficits in the third period in both to come away victorious.

  The Wheat Kings also surrendered seven goals and 70 shots in the first two games, well above the club’s season averages.

  “The biggest thing that’s been plaguing us is our positional play.  I think, in our D-zone sometimes, we’re swinging through and not stopping on our checks,” offered Brandon defenceman Mitch Wheaton, “Sometimes we’re trying to make the fancy play and turning the puck over.  We’ve been a lot more on making simple plays in the D-Zone and we’re going to take that into Game Three.”

  Wheaton added that Red Deer has a good enough offensive team that they’ll create some scoring chances, but they want to make them earn those opportunities rather than make it easy for them.

  On Brandon’s side, Reid Duke will take a ten-game point-scoring streak into Tuesday’s contest.

  The Minnesota Wild 2014 draft pick has 19 points during the streak and is currently second in playoff scoring in the Western Hockey League.

  Tim McGauley has an eight-game point streak intact including goals in five of his last six games while John Quenneville has points in nine of the last ten contests.

  Meanwhile, Tuesday’s game will be a milestone contest for Brandon goaltender Jordan Papirny.

  He’ll make his 42nd career playoff start, breaking Tyler Plante’s club record.

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