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WHEAT KINGS PLAYOFF HOPES HANG BY A THREAD

Brandon, MB. – The Brandon Wheat Kings playoff hopes may have come to an end for the 2018-19 Western Hockey League season.

With their season on the line Wednesday night before over 4,800 fans at Westoba Place, the Wheat Kings dropped a disappointing 6-2 decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

The loss, coupled with Medicine Hat’s 7-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels, leaves Brandon with no margin of error as they desperately look for a way to avoid playoff contention.

The Wheat Kings enter the final weekend of regular season play, trailing Red Deer and the final playoff spot in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, by four points with two games to play.

All the Rebels need is a single point during this week’s games against Kootenay and Lethbridge, or a loss by the Wheat Kings, to clinch at least the second wild card berth. Red Deer is currently two points back of the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Should the two teams finish tied with 72 points, the Wheat Kings would be forced to play a sudden death playoff game next Tuesday in Alberta.

As for Wednesday’s setback, the Warriors jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and never looked back.

Stelio Mattheos – with his team leading 44th goal of the season – and Caiden Daley scored in a losing cause for the Wheat Kings, who trailed 3-1 through the first two periods of play.

Moose Jaw meanwhile got goals from six different skaters – Yegor Buyalski, Brayden Tracey, Tristin Langan, Daemon Hunt, Dalton Hamaliuk and Cameron Sterling.

The Wheat Kings, who are now 30-28-4-4 on the season, will bring the curtain down on their 2018-19 regular season schedule this weekend with a home and home series with the Regina Pats, beginning Friday night at the Brandt Centre.

Tickets to Saturday’s regular season finale go back on sale Thursday morning at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling (204) 726-3555 or online at keystonecentre.com

Saturday’s game is Awards Night, presented by the Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre. Trophies will be presented before, during and immediately following the game.

Photo courtesy of Tim Smith, Brandon Sun

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