Photo by Brandi Crowe
Brandon, MB (CKLQ) - Make it six in a row for the Brandon Wheat Kings, who knocked off the Saskatoon Blades 6-2 on Friday night.
In the final home game for nearly three weeks, the Wheat Kings and Blades treated the fans at Westoba Place to a really entertaining first period, with big hits and chances at both ends of the rink.
Unfortunately for Brandon, the Blades would open the scoring. On the tail end of a four on three powerplay, Ryan Hughes found a rebound and tucked it through the legs of Jiri Patera to give the Blades a 1-0 lead.
The Wheat Kings would respond midway through the frame as Ridly Greig crashed the blue paint and tucked home a juicy rebound past Nolan Maier to bring the game back to even.
Moments after the Greig goal, Zach Wytinck pulled the puck through the slot, shifted to his backhand a roofed it to the top cupboard where his billet mom keeps the cookies to put Brandon in front. Wytinck's goal and assist in the first period extended his point-scoring streak to six games.
The onslaught continued in the 2nd period as the Wheat Kings exploded for two goals in the opening five minutes. First, Luka Burzan notched his 35th of the season as he drove to the net and took a feed from Stelio Mattheos. Burzan and Mattheos have extended their point-scoring streak to six games as well.
Moments later, Caiden Daley took a loose puck off the near side boards, walked to the slot and ripped one five-hole for his 6th of the season.
The Wheat Kings would add another for good measure in the period as Stelio Mattheos scored his 40th of the year. The Wheat Kings Captain is now just 3 shy of his career high 43, from one year ago. The goal would spell the end of the night for Nolan Maier, who was pulled in favor of Dorin Luding to start the 3rd. Maier finished the night with 17 saves.
The Blades would score early in the third, their 2nd powerplay goal of the night as Max Gerlach continues to score at a torrid pace. The Texas native scored his 37th of the year, to give the Blades a bit of early momentum.
Any momentum the Blades gained from the goal was quickly squashed as Baron Thompson and Riley McKay squared off at center ice. The fight sent the crowd of 3,875 into a frenzy and tilted the ice back in Brandon's favor.
Moments after the tilt, Ben McCartney would finish off a great passing play from Connor Gutenberg to put the final icing on the cake! The shorthanded goal was Brandon's 10th of the season.
Jiri Patera earned his 21st victory of the season, making 27 saves for the victory.
The win gives Brandon 65 points on the season and moves them into the final playoff spot in the East, with a record of 29-22-3-4. On the out of town scoreboard, Calgary earned a single point in an OT loss in Regina. The Hitmen now have 66 points and remain in the #1 wild-card spot in the conference.
The Red Deer Rebels fell in Edmonton 2-1 and are now on the outside looking in with 63 points.
Next up for Brandon, a quick day trip to Prince Albert tomorrow before heading out on the road for a six-game road trip through Alberta. Saturday's game from the Art Hauser Centre is a 7:00 start (6:30 on QCountry Radio)
SAS - Ryan Hughes (24) (Davidson, Dach) 2:18 PPG
BWK - Ridly Greig (13) (Wytinck, McCartney) 11:32
BWK - Zach Wytinck (5) (Unassisted) 15:11
Shots: 17-12 Saskatoon
BWK - Luka Burzan (35) (Mattheos, Schneider) 4:03
BWK - Caiden Daley (6) (McCallum) 4:46
BWK - Stelio Mattheos (40) (Burzan, Reinhardt) 10:20
Shots: 10-6 Brandon
SAS - Max Gerlach (37) (Davidson, Luding) 4:37 PPG
BWK - Ben McCartney (19) (Gutenberg) 10:39 SHG
Final Shots: 40-28 Saskatoon