Pats host Wheat Kings in WHL on Access action
Brandon Wheat Kings (7-2-0-1) at Regina Pats (5-4-1-0)
Wednesday, October 18 – Brandt Centre 7 p.m. (Central)
Channels: Access7 SD, Access 70 HD, WHL Live
Another hotly-contested East Division rivalry will be featured at the Brandt Centre Wednesday as the Brandon Wheat Kings and Regina Pats face each other for the third time this season and for the only time as a WHL On Access broadcast.
The mid-week battle is part of a five-game schedule Wednesday in the Western Hockey League and carries with it some of the biggest story lines of the night.
First off, one team will see their winning streak by the final buzzer at the Brandt Centre. The host Pats are riding a two-game winning streak after overtime victories over the Prince Albert Raiders and Edmonton Oil Kings over the weekend. The visiting Wheat Kings have vaulted themselves into contention in a fierce East Division with a six-game winning streak, tied with the Portland Winterhawks for the longest active winning streak at the moment across the league.
What’s more impressive for the Wheat Kings is what they’ve done over those six games, averaging 5.5 goals per game while outscoring their opponents 33-18. Since opening the season with a hat trick and a five-point game against the Pats on opening night, Ty Lewis has refused to slow his pace offensively, adding to his points total in every game and recording a multi-point in nine of those contests. The contributions of Carolina Hurricanes prospect Stelio Mattheos (five-multi point games in his last six contests) and Los Angeles Kings defenceman Kale Clague (leads all WHL defencemen in goals and points) can not go unnoticed either as Manitoba’s lone WHL club continues an offensive barrage of their opponents.
The tandem of Logan Thompson and Dylan Myskiw aren’t among the league leaders for the WHL’s masked men, but have still delivered wins for their team when they needed it most. The most recent example of that came Sunday as Myskiw’s 20-save performance helped Brandon roar back in the third before winning in overtime. Right now, offence is carrying the Wheat Kings, but if both Thompson and Myskiw improve their numbers, they’ll be an even tougher team to contend with.
On the Pats’ side, they’re on a winning streak of their own, though it’s still in its infancy at just two games. Still, the Pats pointed themselves in the right direction with a pair of overtime victories. The last time these two teams faced each other, the Pats were without Sam Steel and Josh Mahura. Having both back in the lineup should prove beneficial and give fans of both sides a taste of what an even match up looks like.
Despite Steel’s offensive surge since returning to the lineup, Matt Bradley and Emil Oksanen have continued to lead the team statistically. Just five players enter play Wednesday with 20 or more points, with four coming from the East Division.
Tyler Brown has steadily improved this season, posting a 3-1-0-0 record, 1.85 GAA and .931 SV% over the last five games he’s played in. His continued success, especially against a division rival ahead of them in the standings, will be imperative to the Pats. As the Pats try to move up in the Eastern Conference standings, they’ll need to be hot the rest of the month, with five of their seven remaining games in October against teams ahead of them in the conference standings.
The Pats have the unfortunate unique experience of having a better record than all the teams in the Central Division, but are still mired in fourth in the East, causing them to sit as a wild card entering play Wednesday. They can’t catch the three teams ahead of them in the division, but things are getting crowded at the top with the first place Swift Current Broncos and fifth-place Prince Albert Raiders separated by seven points.
Special teams will also be an interesting focus in tonight’s game, particularly if the Wheat Kings go on the man-advantage. Brandon has claimed the top power play so far this season while the Pats have the 21st-ranked penalty kill. Seeing how those teams measure up to each other will be of great importance throughout the full 60 minutes.
Catch all the action from the Brandt Centre in Regina starting at 7 p.m. local time!
Brandon Wheat Kings
Head coach: David Anning
Leading scorers: LW Ty Lewis (6-19-25); C Stelio Mattheos (9-10-19); D Kale Clague (7-10-17)
Leading goaltender: Logan Thompson (8GP, 5-2-0-1, 3.45 GAA, 0.897 SV%)
Power play: 1st – 38.1 per cent
Penalty kill: 13th – 77.8 per cent
Injuries/Unavailable: D Daniel Bukac (lower body, TBD); D James Shearer (lower body, TBD)
— Regina Pats (@WHLPats) October 18, 2017
Head coach: John Paddock
Leading scorers: C Matt Bradley (9-11-20); RW Emil Oksanen* (9-7-16); C Sam Steel (4-8-12)
Leading goaltender: Tyler Brown (8 GP, 4-2-1-0, 2.85 GAA, .899 SV%)
Power play: Sixth – 28.0 per cent
Penalty kill: 21st – 68.2 per cent
Injuries/Unavailable: RW Nick Henry (upper body, 2-to-3 weeks); RW Austin Wagner (upper body, month-to-month)
Sept. 22 – Regina 1 at Brandon 8
Sept. 23 – Brandon 3 at Regina 4
Oct. 18 – Brandon at Regina*
Dec. 6 – Regina at Brandon
Dec. 27 – Regina at Brandon
Dec. 28 – Brandon at Regina
Jan. 3 – Brandon at Regina
Feb. 6 – Regina at Brandon
* Indicates WHL on Access broadcast.