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.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Papirny, Wheat Kings Blanks Tigers

Jordan Papirny made 32 saves for his fifth shutout
of the season Wednesday
  The Brandon Wheat Kings continued their hot streak Wednesday night, blanking the Medicine Hat Tigers 5-0.

  Rihards Bukarts scored twice for the Wheat Kings while Jordan Papirny made 32 saves for his fifth shutout of the season in what was his 100th career WHL game.

  Bukarts' first goal came on a breakaway with just over four minutes left in the second period snapped a goalless tie.

  "I just jumped on the ice and I saw Johnny (Quenneville) get the puck after a great Colton Waltz hit and I just get a puck," said Bukarts on CKLQ's post-game show, "Great pass by John to set me up for the breakaway.  The puck was bouncing but I settled it down and just put it in...I think it was a game-changer."

  Tyler Coulter made it 2-0 in the final minute of the second period, and Bukarts extended this lead with his second of the game 1:16 into the final frame.

  Bukarts has 12 goals and 24 points in his last 16 games and is second on the Wheat Kings in scoring with 64 points including 27 goals.

  "I think I'm getting better in my shape where I was at the start of the season," said Bukarts, "You can see in my game since all my injuries and I'm with a great line.  We're getting some good chemistry and we're playing well."

  Morgan Klimchuk and Ivan Provorov also scored for Wheat Kings while Tim McGauley had two assists to extend his point-scoring streak to 17 games.

Rihards Bukarts scored a pair of goals Wednesday.

  The victory improved Brandon (45-10-4-2) to 18-3-0-0 against Central Division opponents this season including a perfect 9-0-0-0 record on home-ice.

  The Wheat Kings are now three points away from clinching the East Division title and eight points away from clinching the Eastern Conference title.

  They remain two points behind the Kelowna Rockets for first-place in the overall standings.

Chaff...the shutout was the sixth of Papirny's career, tying him with Geoff McIntosh for sixth-place on the Wheat Kings' all-time list...Brandon scratched D Mark Taraschuk (healthy), D Kale Clague (lower body), F Nolan Patrick (upper body), F Reid Duke (lower body) and G Alex Moodie (upper body)...McGauley's point-scoring streak is the longest for a Brandon player since Mark Stone had an 18-game streak to begin the 2011-12 season...Peter Quenneville had an assist to extend his point-streak to eight games...Brandon dropped one spot in #4 in the CHL Top-10 rankings that were released on Wednesday.

Provorov Returns Wednesday

Ivan Provorov is expected to return to Brandon's lineup
on Wednesday night.
  Slowly but surely, the Brandon Wheat Kings' injury list is shrinking.

  Jayce Hawryluk returned from a 13-game absence this past weekend and, now, Ivan Provorov looks ready to return Wednesday night after missing six games with an upper body injury.

  "It's been only a couple of weeks but it feels like it's been a month or more," said Provorov after Tuesday's practice, "Every time you miss a game, watching from the stands, you kind of want to help the team but you're not out there so it's kind of tough."

  Despite missing the last half-dozen contests and another six games while playing for the silver-medal winning Russian team at the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship, Provorov leads all rookies in scoring with 51 points -- a total that also puts him fourth in defenceman scoring in the Western Hockey League.

  Brandon went 4-1-1-0 in Provorov's absence, allowing them to remain within two points of the Kelowna Rockets for first-place in the WHL's overall standings.

  "Every guy in the locker room is talking about it," said Provorov, "We're only two points behind...we can get to that and win the league so it's pretty important."

  The Wheat Kings haven't claimed the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as regular season champions since posting a 52-19-1 record during the 1995-96 season, which also happens to be the last time Brandon claim the WHL title.

  Brandon also enters Wednesday's game versus Medicine Hat (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place) needing six points to clinch the East Division title and ten points to claim the Eastern Conference title.

Chaff...Nolan Patrick (lower body), Reid Duke (lower body) and Kale Clague (lower body) all missed practice Tuesday while goaltenders Alex Moodie (upper body) and Logan Thompson (illness) were both full participants.  One of them is expected to backup Jordan Papirny on Wednesday...Tim McGauley carries a 16-game point-scoring streak (12 G, 22 A) into Wednesday's contest.  It's the third-longest streak in the WHL this season...F Morgan Klimshuk and D Reid Gow will both play their 250th career games on Wednesday night.