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SASKATOON DOUBLES UP WHEATIES

Saskatoon, SK. – The Brandon Wheat Kings Western Hockey League’s playoff fortunes took a real hit Sunday night.

Not only did the Saskatoon Blades double up on the Wheat Kings 6-3, the Calgary Hitmen whipped the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors 6-2. That leaves Brandon seven points behind Red Deer and eight points back of Calgary in the battle for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Rebels also have a game in hand.

In Saskatoon, the Blades jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead and never looked back as the Wheat Kings’ record slipped to 23-22-3-4 on the season.

Chase Wouters and Riley McKay scored two goals each for the Blades, who improved to 34-13-6-2.

Linden McCorrister, Stelio Mattheos and 16-year old rookie Ridly Greig scored in a losing cause for the Wheat Kings, who return home Wednesday night to face off against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Brandon coach David Anning says you can’t win games against teams like the Blades when you get off to a poor start like they did Sunday.

“The start to the hockey game hurt us,” Anning said. “We put ourselves in a tough spot because we weren’t ready to play and weren’t ready to start on time. We made careless decisions with the puck and had a lot of turnovers and they made the most of their opportunities.”

The game spoiled a return to the net by 19-year old Jiri Patera, who has been sidelined with a lower body injury for the past month.

The Vegas Golden Knights’ prospect made 31 saves for the Wheat Kings while Nolan Maier turned aside 25 Brandon shots to pick up the win.

Both teams went 2-for-7 with the man advantage.

With Patera back from injury, the Wheat Kings reassigned goalkeeper Connor Ungar to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Okotoks Oilers before the game.

Tickets to Wednesday’s game vs. Edmonton go back on sale at 10am Monday at the Keystone Centre box office. Fans can also order online at keystonecentre.com or by calling 726-3555.

Should the Wheat Kings win Wednesday’s game, all fans in attendance will receive a free ticket to next week’s critical game against the Calgary Hitmen.

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