WHEAT KINGS STUN BRONCOS
Brandon, MB. – The Brandon Wheat Kings took a giant step towards securing a Western Hockey League playoff spot Friday night before over 4,200 fans at Westoba Place.
Evan Weinger scored three times as the Wheat Kings upset the visiting Swift Current Broncos in come from behind fashion.
The Broncos, who are currently ranked second in the Canadian Hockey League, jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead and led 3-2 in the second when Weinger scored his second of the night to even the score with one minute remaining.
The third period belonged to the Wheat Kings as they connected for three unanswered goals.
A powerplay maker by Ty Lewis – his 42nd goal of the season – at the 12:09 mark snapped the tie and after Linden McCorrister added an insurance marker 26 seconds later, Weinger capped off his hat trick performance with an empty netter with two minutes to play.
It’s been quite the week for the El Segundo, California native. Not only is he enjoying a career year with 29 goals and 53 points in sixty games, he signed an American Hockey League contract with the San Jose Barracuda last weekend.
“Once we figured out how to get pucks deep and played east-west inside their zone making their defence work, we had a lot of success,” Weinger told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun following the game. “Playing a high-speed game, we’re going to cause a lot of teams a lot of trouble.”
Brandon coach David Anning said despite being down two goals after the first period, his club had played pretty well and improved as the game went on.
“I thought we got better,” Anning told the Sun. “I thought our speed and our pace to our game really showed through as the game went on and I thought it caused some problems for our opposition. It allowed us to play more in the offensive zone, create some scoring chances and capitalize.”
Cole Reinhardt also scored for the Wheat Kings on Friday, who outshot Swift Current 33-29, including 11-5 in the third period when Brandon was forced to play without starting netminder Logan Thompson.
The 20-year old Calgary product left the game after the second with a lower body injury and was replaced by Dylan Myskiw, who responded with a solid period to collect the win.
With the win, Brandon improved to 36-26-3-1, good for 77 points and fourth place in the WHL’s Eastern Division. The Wheat Kings remain three points back of third place Regina, who beat Kootenay 2-1 in overtime and four up on fifth place Prince Albert as the Raiders ran their winning streak to eight games with a 6-4 win over Moose Jaw.
Meanwhile Calgary did the Wheat Kings a huge favour Friday, beating Saskatoon 5-4 in overtime, leaving the Blades five points back of the Raiders and nine behind Brandon with a week remaining in the regular season.
What that means is Brandon has reduced its magic number to two points with five games to play. The Wheat Kings could do that Saturday night when they open up a 2-game Saskatchewan road trip in Saskatoon.
Following Saturday’s game, the Wheat Kings will travel to Moose Jaw on Sunday before hosting the Blades on Tuesday night.
Tuesday is “Rain Check Night”, presented by Red River Mutual.
Any unused tickets (since December 6th 2017) can be exchanged at the Keystone Centre box office for this game (regular box office agency fees apply). Fans can also order tickets online at keystonecentre.ca or by calling (204) 726-3555.
While Tuesday is not a “2 for Tuesday”, the Keystone Centre has announced that they will be offering a number of concession specials on such items as pop, hot dogs, popcorn and beer.
Speaking of specials – Brandon’s five goal effort Friday means fans can take advantage of the Wheat Kings Dominos 5 promotion all day Saturday. Online pizza orders will be 50% off when fans use the promo code WK5.
Photo Courtesy of Brandi Pollock