Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Quenneville Get Hatty; Wheat Kings Clinch Conference

Peter Quenneville netted his second career WHL hat-trick
on Wednesday.
  The Brandon Wheat Kings erupted for six goals in the second period and went on to a 7-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday night.

  Wheat Kings' captain Peter Quenneville had his second career WHL hat-trick and added an assist while Tim McGauley had a goal and two assists to extend his points-scoring to 20 games and move into second-place in the WHL scoring race.

  "We just were faster.  In the first period, I thought we were okay but I didn't think we were as quick as what we like to play or as fast as a team as what we want to be," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game show, "In the second, I thought we did a better job of that, got momentum and build off of that."

  Brayden Burke gave Lethbridge an early lead by scoring 75 seconds into the contest with Braylon Shmyr tying it for Brandon about four minutes later, leaving the teams tied 1-1 after 20 minutes.

  The Wheat Kings then dominated the second period, outshooting the Hurricanes 26-5 while putting six goals past Lethbridge netminder Jayden Sittler and taking a 7-1 lead into the second intermission.

  Burke and Tyler Wong scored goals in the third for the Hurricanes to make the end result a little more respectable.

  Tyler Coulter and Duncan Campbell also scored for Brandon as part of the second period assault while Alex Moodie made 24 saves in the Wheat Kings' net it was his first start since January 30th.

  "Over a month since his last start and he's been good at practice," said McCrimmon, "I think he's back to himself and just good to get him another start and a game under his belt here now as we get into the final month."

Eric Roy has moved into a tie for 4th-place on the
Wheat Kings' all-time list for defenceman assists.
  Eric Roy added three assists for the Wheat Kings to move him into a tie with Ryan Pulock, Justin Kurtz and Don Dietrich for fourth-place in all-time assists by a defenceman with 146.

  "It's really's a huge accomplishment.  All those guys are great players," said Roy on CKLQ's post-game show, "It's really good to be put with those guys and it's good we got the win tonight."

  Roy has 25 points and is +21 in 29 games since the Christmas break and is playing his best hockey of the season.

  "I'm just going out there every day, playing hard, keeping it simple and having fun," said Roy, "It's my last year of junior, we've got a really good team here and I'm just going out there, working hard, even in practice, and just trying to get better every day."

  The victory not only allowed the Wheat Kings to eclipse the 100-point mark for the season, but it also moved Brandon into a tie with Kelowna for first-place in the WHL's overall standings.

  Brandon also clinched their first Eastern Conference title since 1995-96 late Wednesday evening when the Calgary Hitmen dropped a 3-2 decision in Prince George.

  The Wheat Kings are back in action Friday when they visit the Prince Albert Raiders (7:00 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

Chaff...Brandon F Quintin Lisoway had to be helped off the ice in the first period after having his leg caught awkwardly on a check along the boards.  Early indications are a knee injury that could sideline Lisoway for a while...the Wheat Kings scratched D Kale Clague (lower body), F Reid Duke (lower body), F Nolan Patrick (upper body) and D Mark Matsuba (healthy)...Morgan Klimchuk had two assists Wednesday to reach the 250 point mark for his WHL career...the Wheat Kings finish the season with a 20-3-0-1 record against Central Division teams including an 11-0-0-1 record at home...Brandon was #4 in the CHL's Top-10 rankings that were released on Wednesday...the Wheat Kings have quietly announced their first two home playoff games will be held at Westman Communications Group Place on Thursday, March 26 and Friday, March 27.  Tickets to those two games will, apparently, go on sale next week.

MVP - McGauley, Valuable Player!!

Tim McGauley
The Brandon Wheat Kings have an MVP on their hands -- McGauley, Valuable Player.

  Tim McGauley is having a breakout season in his third full year with the Wheat Kings and currently ranks in the top-five in the Western Hockey League in goals (37), assists (52), points (89), plus-minus (+40) and game-winning goals (8), and is the only player in the WHL in the top-five in each of those categories!!

  McGauley had 105 points in 153 career WHL games going into the 2014-2015 season so his leap forward isn't necessarily a huge shock, especially for those that have been around the Wilcox, Saskatchewan product over the past two seasons.

  "I think his skating has improved, and his quickness has improved.  Bigger and stronger, the confidence that comes with being an older player is a big part of it for Tim as well," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon earlier this week, "He really matches up a lot better in every situation now.  Physically, he handle himself well.  He's able to get position on people and, again, quicker for me than he was his first two seasons."

  McGauley's breakout has him being mentioned with past Wheat Kings' greats including Mark Stone and Eric Fehr, the only other Wheat Kings' players in the last 15 years to produce 100-point seasons in a Brandon uniform.

  "It's a bit shocking and it's pretty crazy, actually," said McGauley, who was named the Wheat Kings Player of the Month for February on Tuesday, "When I was 16, I got called up here when Mark Stone was here.  He was a great guy, a great leader and I've always looked up to him so to be mentioned with him is pretty crazy."

  "He's quietly gone about putting together a tremendous year and we've talked many times about the consistency that he has to his game," added McCrimmon, "Based on that, he's put himself well up the list of the top scorers in our league along with the responsibilities he has being a really good two-way player because that's really where Tim's game is based."

  McGauley has points in 50 of Brandon's 63 games this season including his current 19-game point-scoring streak that's the longest for a Wheat Kings' player since Cory Cyrenne had a 23-game streak during the 1997-98 season.

Nolan Patrick was in a no-contact
jersey on Monday.
  The undrafted McGauley is now looking for two things as they move into the final three weeks of the regular season, finishing  strongly and top spot in the WHL's overall standings.

  "With any season, you want to finish strong so I feel, this season has been going well for me so I really want to finish strong...these last three weeks are huge for me and my team," said McGauley, "If our team finishes strong, I'm sure I'll finish strong too so it's team-first for me and hopefully my individual stats reflect that."

  Brandon has a few things on the line as they begin this week.

  The club has a chance to clinch their first regular season Eastern Conference title since 1996 this week, they enter Wednesday's home game against Lethbridge trailing the Kelowna Rockets by two points for first-place in the overall standings and they're one point shy of reaching the 100-point mark for the season.

  The Wheat Kings also need four wins to reach 50 for the season, which would be the fifth time in Brandon 48-year history in the WHL that the club reaches 50 wins (2009-10, 1995-96, 1978-79 and 1976-77)

Chaff...rookie Brandon F Nolan Patrick, who's missed 2 1/2 weeks with an upper body injury, skated in no-contact drills in practice on Monday and Tuesday...Reid Duke (lower body) and Kale Clague (lower body) also remain sidelined, although Clague skated on his own ahead of practice on Tuesday...Wednesday is the deadline for Brandon season ticket holders to renew for next season and buy the Wheat Kings' playoff package. Doing so will give you this year's first two playoff home games for free.

BTW, here's the final stats for the seven Wheat Kings' prospects that played at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C...
Jeremy Klessens (Team Alberta) - 6 GP  1-1-2  **SILVER MEDAL**
Jarrod Gourley (Team Alberta) - 6 GP  0-0-0  **SILVER MEDAL**
Ian Mitchell (Team Alberta) - 6 GP  1-3-4  **SILVER MEDAL**
Connor Gutenberg (Team Manitoba) - 6 GP  3-1-4  **BRONZE MEDAL**
James McIsaac (Team Manitoba) - 6 GP  1-3-4  **BRONZE MEDAL**
Leif Mattson (Team Manitoba) - 6 GP  2-2-4  **BRONZE MEDAL**
Hunter Arps (Team Saskatchewan) - 130 MP, 2.31 GAA, .922 SPCT  **7TH-PLACE**

Team Alberta won silver at the Canada Winter Games

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Captain Quenneville Quiets Ice

Tim McGauley had two assists Saturday to extend
his point-scoring streak to 19 games.
  The Brandon Wheat Kings jumped out to a 3-1 first period lead and went on to a 6-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice on Saturday night.

  Peter Quenneville scored a pair of goals for Brandon while Morgan Klimchuk added a goal and two assists as the Wheat Kings bounced back from a 3-2 shootout loss to the same Ice team 24 hours earlier.

  Brandon led throughout the contest and had a 5-2 lead early in the third period before the Ice rallied to make it a one-goal game.

  "It was nice to get off to that lead early and we kind of shelled their guy but we can't be letting teams back into it, especially preparing for the playoffs here," said Quenneville on CKLQ's post-game show, "We're going to see good teams like Kootenay so we just have to tighten things up down the stretch and seal teams off when we can."

  Quenneville's two goals give the Whaet Kings' captain 20 on the season, becoming the seventh Brandon player to reach that milestone this season.

  "It's good to have a lot of guys that can score goals and coming down the stretch, we're going to need everybody stepping down, and in crucial moments," said Quenneville, "The more guys that can put the puck in the back of the net, the better for us and maybe it takes a little bit of pressure off guys can everybody can score on this team."

Approximately $30,000 was raised for the Canadian Cancer
Society during Pink the Rink night Saturday.
  Jayce Hawryluk, Rihards Bukarts and Ivan Provorov scored in the Wheat Kings' first period flurry while Tim Bozon had Kootenay's opening two goals of the contest.

  Rinat Valiev and Jaedon Descheneau scored for the Ice in the third period before Klimchuk salted Brandon's 46th win of the season away with an empty-net goal.

  Tim McGauley set up both of Quenneville's goals to run his point-scoring streak to 19 games, with the third-year centre having 12 goals and 27 assists for 39 points during the stretch.

  The victory leaves Brandon (46-10-4-3) just one point behind the Kelowna Rockets for top spot in the WHL's overall standings after the Rockets dropped a 2-1 decision to the Calgary Hitmen Saturday night.

  The Wheat Kings are also three points away from clinching the Eastern Conference title.

Chaff...McGauley's scoring streak in the longest for a Brandon player since Cory Cyrenne had a 23-game streak during the 1997-98 season...Brandon went with the same lineup as Friday's contest, scratching D Mark Taraschuk (healthy), D Kale Clague (lower body), F Nolan Patrick (upper body) and F Reid Duke (lower body)...Wheat Kings' prospect Leif Mattson had a goal to help Manitoba defeat Quebec 5-3 in the bronze medal game at the Canada Winter Games on Saturday.  Brandon draft picks Connor Gutenberg and James McIsaac, who had an assist Saturday are also members of Team 'Toba...Alberta, which includes Brandon prospects Ian Mitchell, Jarrod Gourley and Jeremy Klessens, will play Ontario in the gold medal game on Sunday (1:30 p.m. CST, TSN5).

Team 'Toba earned a bronze medal Saturday night at the
Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Bittersweet Result for Wheat Kings

Eric Roy played his 312th career game Friday, good for
fourth all-time.
  It was a bittersweet clinching of the East Division title for the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night.

  The Wheat Kings dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Kootenay Ice, but the single point coupled with Regina's 2-1 home-ice loss to Medicine Hat allowed Brandon to earn the East Division pennant for the first time since 2010.

  "You want to get that title with a win but we'll take whatever we can get here," said Brandon forward Morgan Klimchuk on CKLQ's post-game show, "It was a real close game, right from start to finish.  We're happy with the one point...we'd obviously like to have won but we'll learn from it moving forward."

  Klimchuk scored Brandon's first goal of the game with 37.8 seconds left in the second period, tying the contest at 1-1 after Sam Reinhart's power-play goal had given the Ice a 1-0 lead earlier in the period.

  The goal was confirmed by video review after a shot by Eric Roy went over the net, came off the end glass and bounced off Klimchuk's shoulder into the net.

  "Sometimes it doesn't always end up on Plays of the Week, but we'll take that one," said Klimchuk, "I was just making sure it didn't hit my hands because that was what I was kind of planning on doing on that play."

  Matt Alfaro gave Kootenay a 2-1 lead with 9:18 left in the third period, with Rihards Bukarts then scoring for the Wheat Kings with 3:27 left in regulation.

  Both goaltenders played well on the game as Brandon's Jordan Papirny finished with 35 saves and Kootenay's Wyatt Hoflin stopped 32 shots.

  The Wheat Kings and the Ice will meet against Saturday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...Tim McGauley assisted on Bukarts' goal to extend his point-scoring streak to 18 games, the longest for a Brandon player since Mark Stone opened the 2011-12 season by scoring a point in the first 18 games of the season...Brandon scratched D Mark Taraschuk (healthy), D Kale Clague (lower body), F Nolan Patrick (upper body) and F Reid Duke (lower body)...goaltender Alex Moodie returned to Brandon's lineup after missing 11 games with a suspected concussion and backed up Papirny...Eric Roy played his 312th career game to move into sole possession of 4th-place on the Wheat Kings' all-time list...a battle of Wheat Kings' prospects at the Canada Winter Games Friday saw Ian Mitchell, Jarrod Gourley, Jeremy Klessens and Team Alberta defeated Connor Gutenberg, James McIsaac, Leif Mattson and Team Manitoba 3-1 in the semifinals.  Alberta will play Ontario in Sunday's gold medal game while Manitoba faces Quebec for bronze on Saturday.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

No Petering Out for Wheat Kings' Captain

Peter Quenneville
  Brandon Wheat Kings' captain Peter Quenneville is quietly putting together a strong second half of the Western Hockey League season.

  Quenneville suffered through four goalless streaks of six games or longer in the first half but has found his stride since the Christmas break, with the Columbus Blue Jackets' draft pick notching 11 goals and 26 points in 26 games in the second half.

  "I'm trying to play perfect systematic hockey and just be hard to play against and not give anything up, and I think that's shown in the plus/minus category," said Quenneville Thursday, "We've been able to contribute 5-on-5 and not give much up so I think that makes us hard to play against and it's helped the team win."

  The 20-year old Quenneville is riding an eight-game point-scoring streak (4 G, 7 A) and has point in 16 of the last 17 games (8 G, 13 A), leaving him third on the Wheat Kings in scoring this season with 18 goals and 41 assists for 59 points in 61 games.

  "I've found that if I can get to the right place, it'll buy me a little bit of extra time," added Quenneville, "If I can find those pockets on the ice where I'm not really anybody's man, that can make me that much more effective, hopefully buy me a little extra time, and make a good play that ends up on the back of the net."

  Quenneville is on the verge of joining Brandon's 20-goal club, which already includes six members in Tim McGauley (37), Rihards Bukarts (27), Nolan Patrick (26), Morgan Klimchuk (25), Jayce Hawryluk (24) and Reid Duke (20).

  Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings are on the verge of clinch the East Division title for the first time since 2010, and can do so with a victory on home-ice Saturday against the Kootenay Ice (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  "Always nice to throw a few banners up in the rafters when you get the chance, especially with the way the division slipped away last year was kind of unfortunate," said Quenneville, "Hopefully, we can clinch that...maybe get to 50 wins here and continue to roll into playoffs."

  The Wheat Kings are also eight points away from clinching their first Eastern Conference title since 2005, and are two points behind the Kelowna Rockets for first-place in the WHL's overall standings.

Chaff...F Nolan Patrick (upper body), F Reid Duke (lower body) and D Kale Clague (lower body) were all bystanders for practice Thursday, likely ruling the trio out from returning this weekend...F Braylon Shmyr, who left Wednesday's game early with an apparent leg injury, did not practice Thursday...Brandon D Eric Roy will play his 312th game Friday, moving him into sole possession of fourth-place on the Wheat Kings' all-time list...Brandon is 18-3-0-0 against Central Division teams this season including a perfect 9-0-0-0 record on home-ice...Wheat Kings' prospect James McIsaac had a goal to help Manitoba beat Nova Scotia 4-1 and fellow prospect Jeremy Klessens had a goal for Alberta in their 6-1 win over New Brunswick in quarter-final action at the Canada Winter Games Thursday. Manitoba and Alberta will play in one of the semifinals on Friday (6:05 p.m. CST)...Friday night is Player Card Giveaway night as the first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a full set of 2014-15 Wheat Kings player cards.