WHEAT KINGS DOUBLE UP THE BLADES
Brandon, MB. – A big third period propelled the Brandon Wheat Kings to a pivotal win against an Eastern Division rival Friday night at Westoba Place.
The Wheat Kings scored four unanswered third period goals to beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades 6-3 before over 4,200 fans.
Cole Reinhardt’s second of the game – with just over six minutes remaining in regulation – snapped a 3-3 tie as the Wheat Kings roared back from a 3-1 second period deficit with five unanswered goals, including four in the third period.
The 17-year old Calgary native added an assist for a 3 point night.
Trailing 3-2 after forty minutes, the Wheat Kings evened the score early in the third on James Shearer’s first goal of the season.
Chase Hartje, Evan Weinger and Luka Burzan also scored for the Wheat Kings, who improved to 30-19-3-2 on the season. Burzan’s goal late in the second was a big one as it pulled Brandon to within a goal.
With Friday’s win, the Wheat Kings remain in third place in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Division and coupled with losses by Regina and Prince Albert, Brandon is four points up on the Pats and ten ahead of both the Raiders and Blades.
Max Gerlach, Brad Goethals and Dawson Davison scored in a losing cause for the Blades, who outshot Brandon 36-25.
The Wheat Kings, who lost goal scoring leader Stelio Mattheos in the first period, weren’t the only winners on Friday.
A total of $13,100 was raised for the Western Manitoba Cancer Care Centre as the Wheat Kings took the ice in special Canada theme jerseys. A silent auction was held before and throughout the first two periods of play.
The jersey, which featured the names of former Wheat Kings that have represented Canada at the Winter Olympics, the World Championships, the World Cup and the World Junior Hockey Championship, was the third and final theme jersey to be worn by the WHL club this season. Close to $45,000 was raised for three different charities this season. In addition to Friday, jerseys were auctioned this season on behalf of The MS Society of Manitoba and the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
Mattheos sustained an upper body injury in the first when he was hit from behind by Blades’ defenceman Evan Fiala. While no penalty was called on the play, the league is expected to review the hit for a possible suspension.
The Wheat Kings will close out the weekend Saturday night in Swift Current against the second place Broncos.
Brandon’s next home game is one week from Saturday – February 17th – against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.
Next Saturday is Player Card Giveaway Night, presented by Guild Insurance and HMS Insurance Group.
Tickets are on sale at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling (204) 726-3555 or online at keystonecentre.com
Photo Courtesy of Tim Smith, Brandon Sun