Moose Jaw, SK. – The Brandon Wheat Kings completed a season opening weekend home and home series sweep of the Warriors Saturday night with a 4-2 victory in Moose Jaw.
One night after scoring a 2-1 victory in their 2018 Home Opener at Westoba Place, the Wheat Kings struck early in this one – with Linden McCorrister opening the scoring 67 seconds into the game.
The Wheat Kings led 2-0 after one and 3-0 after forty minutes, before the Warriors struck for two third period goals by Josh Brook to pull Moose Jaw to within one with nine minutes to play.
Former Warrior Luka Burzan then iced the game by firing the insurance goal into the empty net.
Burzan, who was acquired from Moose Jaw at last January’s Western Hockey League trade deadline, also added an assist for the Wheat Kings, who opened up the season with back to back wins for the first time since the 2014-15 campaign when they swept Regina to kick off the regular season.
Captain Stelio Mattheos, who added an assist and 16-year old rookie Ridly Greig – with his first ever WHL goal – rounded out the scoring for the Wheat Kings, who won’t play again until Saturday night when they host the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Brandon coach David Anning says despite a strong push by the Warriors in the third period, he was satisfied with his team’s road game Saturday.
“We took a step in the right direction tonight compared to last night,” Anning told the Brandon Sun following the game. “I think that we were more consistent tonight and had really good efforts across the board. I thought through 40 minutes we played quality hockey. We had a lot of guys with a lot of energy tonight and we stepped up our physical game. We had good speed of the rush and we were able to generate a lot off the attack. There were a lot of positives.”
Netminder Jiri Patera, who made franchise history this weekend by becoming the first ever European netminder to wear the Wheat King jersey, turned aside 28 shots in posting the win.
Adam Evanoff meanwhile had 24 saves in a losing effort.
Brandon went 0-for-2 on the power play, with Moose Jaw scoring once in three chances.
Three players, including local product Lynden McCallum made their season debuts on Saturday. A former Manitoba AAA Midget League all star, McCallum picked up his first ever point – an assist – on Greg’s second period goal. Also in the lineup in Moose Jaw were defencemen Neithan Salame and Jonathon Lambos.
Tickets to Saturday’s date with the ‘Canes, which is a playoff rematch from last spring, as well as all remaining regular season home games, will go on sale Tuesday morning at the Keystone Centre box office. Fans can also order online at keystonecentre.com or by calling (204) 726-3555.
The first 2,500 fans in attendance Saturday night will receive a 2018-19 Wheat Kings’ Fridge Magnet schedule, courtesy of Manitoba Hydro.
Photo Courtesy of MJ Warriors