Friday, 21 November 2014

Bounce-Back Win for Wheat Kings

Nolan Patrick scored a pair of goals on Friday
  It was a solid bounce-back performance for the Brandon Wheat Kings Friday night as they downed the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings 7-4.

  Nolan Patrick scored twice and Tim McGauley had a goal and two assists to pace the Wheat Kings, who were coming off a disappointing 5-0 loss in Swift Current on Wednesday night.

  "I think it was a wakeup call for us," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game show, "The guys came to the rink with a much better mindset and played much more the type of game that you need to play to keep getting better, that you need to play at playoffs, those type of habits."

  Patrick's shorthanded goal with 1:20 left in the second period snapped a 3-3 tie and McGauley gave the Wheat Kings a two-goal lead 26 seconds into the third period with what proved to be the game-winning goal.

  "I just got the puck on the penalty-kill just inside our blueline there, so I just chipped it to the middle and had a foot race with their d-man," said Patrick on CKLQ's post-game show, "I jumped to the inside, stripped his pocket and just ripped it along the ice and it found it's way in."

  Brandon jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the game was seven minutes old but the Oil Kings fought back on a natural hat-trick from Brett Pollock in a span of 53 seconds, scoring twice in the final minute of the first period and notching his third goal just seven seconds into the second period.

  John Quenneville's power-play goal with just under six minutes left in the second period tied the game 3-3, setting the stage for Patrick's second of the game and McGauley's ninth of the season.

  Rihards Bukarts, Macoy Erkamps and Quintin Lisoway also scored for the Wheat Kings while Ivan Provorov added three assists.

  Brandon improved to 18-5-1-0 with the victory and moved three points ahead of second-place Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference standings after the Tigers fell 4-2 to Red Deer on Friday night.

  The Wheat Kings will host the Oil Kings again on Saturday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Five Wheat Kings Crack CSS List

Ivan Provorov
  Five members of the Brandon Wheat Kings were named in the NHL Central Scouting Service's Preliminary November Players to Watch list.

  Defenceman Ivan Provorov was listed as an 'A' prospect or a first round candidate, which is a jump from the 'B' status he received in the first preliminary rankings in late September.

  "It's exciting but there's still a long way to go," said the 6-foot-0, 191 pound Provorov on Thursday, "You have to work hard and try to get better every day."

  This season is the fourth in North American for the 17-year old product of Yaroslavl, Russia.

  Provorov was the 30th overall pick in the CHL Import Draft after spending the 2013-2014 campaign with Cedar Rapids of the USHL, and the previous two seasons playing midget and bantam hockey in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

  The move to North America was made, in part, to better prepare for a move to professional hockey -- a move that seems to be paying dividends.

  "The ice surface is smaller, so it takes time to get used to it and, like I said, to get a chance to get drafted higher," said Provorov, "I would say the WHL/CHL is the best junior league in the world, and the schedule is really close to the NHL so it helps you to get ready for the next level."

  Provorov has eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points in 23 games this season, tops among all WHL rookies and third-est among WHL defencemen.

  Four other Wheat Kings were on the CSS list that was released on Thursday.

  Ryan Pilon and Jesse Gabrielle were both 'B' Prospects or 2nd and 3rd round candidates while Rihards Bukarts and Jordan Papirny were 'C' Prospects or 4th, 5th and 6th round candidates.

  You can find the complete list at

Chaff...Plenty of trade activity in the WHL late Wednesday and Thursday. Calgary acquired D Keenan Kanzig, 19, and a 2016 2nd round pick from Victoria for F Greg Chase, 19, a 5th in 2015 and an 8th in 2016; Swift Current traded F Dakota Odgers, 18, to Vancouver for a 5th round pick in 2015; Saskatoon dealt F Cory Millette, 19, to Prince Albert for a 5th round pick in 2016 and Kamloops sent F Jesse Shynkaruk, 18, to Moose Jaw for a 4th round pick in 2017...Brandon will play a doubleheader against the Edmonton Oil Kings Friday and Saturday at Westman Communications Group Place.  Friday's game will be Mark Stone bobblehead night, with the first 2,000 fans receiving a likeness of the former Wheat Kings' captain.

Bow, Broncos Blank Wheat Kings

Landon Bow had a 25 save shutout Wednesday

  The Brandon Wheat Kings’ high-flying offence was grounded by the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday night.
  Landon Bow made 25 saves for his fifth shutout of the season as the Broncos blanked Brandon 5-0, the first time the Wheat Kings have been shutout this season.
  “Before we ever starting talking about X’s and O’s, or systems, or line combinations or matchups, we had to have everybody fully invested to play and compete and work in the game tonight,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “ I didn’t think we got that, I didn’t think we got that from our top players.”
  Coda Gordon and former Wheat King Ayrton Nikkel had a goal and an assist each for the Broncos, with their two goals coming in the opening 4 ½ minutes of the second period that turned a 1-0 game into a 3-0 contest.
  “It’s just really important on the road to stay in the game.  That’s one of the things that we always talk about is make sure you keep hanging around,” said McCrimmon, “We gave up two goals early in the second period that dug the hole for us that we never did get out of.”
  The Wheat Kings had a chance to climb back into the game in the middle frame, garnering four power-play opportunities including a 5-on-3 man advantage for 38 seconds.
  However, they were unable to capitalize on those opportunities.
  “Just a great opportunity to get back into the game, but no great chances,” said McCrimmon, “Some zone time but didn’t establish any shots from the point, didn’t get any chances from inside at all, it was all perimeter and really ineffective on the power-play tonight.”
  Brandon finished 0-for-5 with the man advantage, leaving the team 6-for-41 (14.6%) in the last nine games.
  Colby Cave, Cavin Leth and Glenn Gawdin also scored for the Broncos Wednesday while Jay Merkley netted a pair of assists.
  Jordan Papirny made 28 saves in the Wheat Kings’ goal.
  The loss leaves Brandon (17-5-1-0) five points ahead of second-place Swift Current in the East Division and just a single point ahead of second-place Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference.
  The Wheat Kings are back on home ice this coming weekend, hosting the Edmonton Oil Kings for a doubleheader on Friday and Saturday.
Chaff...Brandon scratched F Braylon Shmyr (lower body), D Kale Clague (upper body), F Ty Lewis (upper body) and D Mark Matsuba (healthy)...the last time Brandon was held without a goal was when they were blanked 4-0 by Daniel Wapple and the Regina Pats on February 17...Wednesday’s loss was Brandon’s first against an East Division opponent this season.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Gabrielle Off to Strong Start

Jesse Gabrielle is tied for the team-lead with 12 goals
  It's been a good start to Jesse Gabrielle's second season with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

  The 17-year old is currently tied for the team lead with 12 goals, which also puts him in a tie for fifth spot in the WHL and matches his total from his rookie season.

  "Getting in another summer really helped me out," said Gabrielle after Tuesday's practice, "I think the first year went really well for me, and building on that with a strong start for my second year is really helping me out as well."

  The 6-foot-0, 214 pound Gabrielle strong start can be linked to a steady off-season of training, which also resulted in him testing out as one of the strongest (if not the strongest) member of the Wheat Kings during the club's fitness testing at training camp.

  "My game requires me to have a good amount of strength.  I think working hard with (strength coach Jim Frederickson) really helped me get to where I want to be," said Gabrielle, "I want to be a power forward in this league, a big, strong guy who's hard on the walls, in the corners and in front of the net.  Coming in as strong as I was really gave me a push to the start of the season."

  Gabrielle was a fifth round pick of Brandon in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft (100th overall), which a lot of observers felt was a steal for the team at the time of the draft.

  That seems to be proving to be accurate, with Gabrielle now getting some notice from NHL scouts and being ranked in the top 100 prospects available for the 2015 NHL Draft.

  "I feel I am going to get drafted this year, I'm not sure where it's going to be," said Gabrielle, "Regardless of where I go, it doesn't matter of I'm a first rounder or a seventh rounder, I'm going to outwork everyone that gets drafted within my draft class and it's not going to matter where I am."

  Gabrielle was listed as a B Prospect (2nd or 3rd round candidate) in the preliminary rankings by the NHL Central Scouting Service, while also being 95th in TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button November rankings.

  Gabrielle and the Wheat Kings hit the road on Wednesday, travelling to Swift Current for a matchup with the Broncos (6:30 p.m, 880 CKLQ).

  Brandon is currently seven points ahead of the second-place Broncos in the WHL's East Division standings.

Chaff...Brandon is 2-0-0-0 against the Broncos so far this season...D Kale Clague (upper body) will miss his third straight game Wednesday and is listed on this week's injury report as 'week-to-week'...F Braylon Shmyr also missed practice on Tuesday...Brandon G Jordan Papirny is 6-0 with a 1.46 GAA and .959 SPCT in his last six starts...Wheat Kings' 2012 7th round pick Wade Allison signed his national letter of intent to play college hockey at Western Michigan University.  Allison, who is with Tri-City of the USHL, has yet to play this season after undergoing ankle surgery in September.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

MacLean to Headline BWK Sportsmans Dinner

  As you heard on CKLQ early Tuesday morning, a well-known broadcaster will be the headline speaker for the 2015 CKLQ Brandon Wheat Kings' Sportsmans Dinner.
  Coaches' Corner co-host Ron MacLean will headline the January 29th dinner, which annually raises funds for the Wheat Kings' Scholarship Foundation.
  MacLean has done pretty much everything in his 20-plus year career with the CBC, including anchoring coverage of the Summer and Winter Olympics.
  Tuesday's announcement means MacLean will be making a pair of trips into Brandon in the coming months.
  He'll also be hosting the Rogers Hometown Hockey visit to the Wheat City on November 29-30.