Brandon, MB. – The Brandon Wheat Kings fired 55 shots at Swift Current goalkeeper Riley Lamb Friday night, but needed an overtime shootout goal by Ben McCartney to beat the visiting Broncos 3-2.
With the win and a Calgary loss to the Prince Albert Raiders, the Wheat Kings moved to within six points of the Hitmen and the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference.
The Wheat Kings, who are now 23-21-3-4 on the season, came out flying in the first, outshooting the Broncos 21-6 and scoring the game’s first goal when Baron Thompson beat Lamb high on the glove side with just over two minutes remaining.
Brandon took a 2-0 lead on Braden Schneider’s second period goal, only to see the Broncos cut the lead in half when Joona Kiviniemi’s beat Brandon’s Ethan Kruger with 1:12 to play.
Despite countless chances to add an insurance marker in the third and with the Swift Current net empty, the Broncos capitalized when Ethan O’Rourke jumped on his own rebound and buried it with just over a minute remaining in regulation time.
The score stayed that way through five minutes of sudden death overtime, with the final shots Brandon 55 Swift Current 22.
A 20-year old Rivers product, who began the season in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Lamb was easily the game’s first star and gave his club every opportunity to win this one. Among his saves were four key stops in overtime when he shut the door on the home team.
A former Red Deer Rebel, Lamb played the first three months of the 2018-19 season with both the Weyburn Red Wings and Yorkton Terriers.
While Lamb may have been the first star, it was Kruger who stopped all three Swift Current shooters to clinch the win for Brandon.
The Wheat Kings will close out the weekend with a game against the Blades Sunday afternoon in Saskatoon.
Brandon will then return home to host the Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday in what the hockey club has dubbed “Winning Wednesday” at Westoba Place.
Should the Wheat Kings win the Battle of the Kings on Wednesday, all ticket holders will receive a “free” ticket to the Brandon – Calgary game on Wednesday, February 20th.
Tickets to all remaining home games go back on sale at 10am Saturday at the Keystone Centre box office. Fans can also order online at keystonecentre.com or by calling (204) 726-3555.
Brandon plays five of its final seven home games in February as the Tim Hortons Brier will occupy the Keystone Centre for the final week of February and the first two weeks of March.