Brandon Wheat Kings (13-12-4-0) at
Edmonton Oil Kings (13-14-2-0)
Friday, Dec. 9 – 7 p.m. (Mountain)/ 8 p.m. (Central) – Rogers Place
Channels: Local Shaw SD; Shaw HD304; Shaw Direct Satellite TV HD Classic 120 or HD Advanced 620
After winning six games in a roll, the wheels have slowed on the Brandon Wheat Kings wagon, with the defending Ed Chynoweth Cup champions having lost four games in row to start the month of December.
On the other side, the Edmonton Oil Kings had a modest three-game winning streak snapped Monday night when the red-hot Lethbridge Hurricanes blew through Rogers Place.
Both the Wheat Kings and Oil Kings will look to reclaim their crowns in a regal affair Friday night (7 p.m. Mountain) on WHL on Shaw.
Without the services of star centre Nolan Patrick, the Wheat Kings head into the seventh contest on an eight-game road trip. Wednesday in Prince George, the Cougars stepped all over Brandon en route to a 5-1 victory. Stelio Mattheos, a 2017 NHL Draft-eligible prospect, notched the lone goal for the Wheat Kings.
Prior to falling to the high-flying Hurricanes, the Oil Kings had rattled off three consecutive victories, getting past the Spokane Chiefs, Kootenay ICE and Saskatoon Blades to remain in the middle of the Central Division pack. In Monday’s 6-4 loss, Trey Fix-Wolansky carried on with his strong rookie campaign, tallying a goal and an assist to improve his seasonal point total to 22 (8G-14A) through 29 games.
Friday’s outing serves as the third of four this season between the Wheat Kings and the Oil Kings. To date, the two teams have split the slate. The Wheat Kings earned a 5-3 win courtesy a three-point effort (1G-2A) from defenceman Kale Clague on Oct. 25 at Rogers Place before the Oil Kings exacted some revenge with a 6-3 win fueled by three-point performances from Aaron Irving and Davis Koch on Nov. 5 at Westman Place.
Ty Lewis and Reid Duke sit tied atop the scoring charts for the Wheat Kings heading into Friday night. Lewis, an 18-year-old product of Brandon, has 31 points (16G-15A) through 30 games played this campaign. Duke, a 20-year-old veteran from Calgary, has 31 points (16G-15A) in only 21 games this season.
The Oil Kings have their own veteran duo leading the offense as well, with Lane Bauer and Aaron Irving tied atop the scoring charts. Bauer, a 20-year-old product of Anchorage, Alaska, has 30 points (19G-11A) through 29 contests. Irving, a 20-year-old hometown kid from Edmonton, also has 30 points (9G-21A) in 29 contests.
Brandon’s cage has been guarded by the likes of both 20-year-old Jordan Papirny and 19-year-old Logan Thompson this season. In 19 appearances, Papirny has logged a record of 10-7-1-0 with a 3.01 goals-against average and .916 save percentage, while Thompson’s mark stands at 3-5-3-0 with a a3.04 GAA, .909 SV% and one shutout.
At the other end, Patrick Dea has carried the bulk of the load for the Oil Kings, maintaining a record of 11-10-0-0 with a 3.46 GAA, .891 SV% and one shutout through 21 appearances. The 19-year-old native of St. Albert, Alta., was named the WHL Goaltender of the Week and Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending Nov. 13.
The veteran had been backed by rookie Liam Hughes (1-4-2-0, 3.26 GAA, .895 SV%) before he was felled by a lower body injury. Hughes is listed as out on a week-to-week basis. In his stead, 18-year-old Josh Dechaine has stepped in for one game, going 1-0-0-0 with a 3.00 GAA and .923 SV%.
Following Friday’s affair in Edmonton, the two teams will wrap up their season series Feb. 3 at Westman Place in Brandon.
Edmonton Oil Kings
Head coach: Steve Hamilton
Scoring leaders: C Lane Bauer (19-11-30); D Aaron Irving (9-21-30); RW Davis Koch (7-23-30)
Goaltending leader: Patrick Dea (11-10-0-0, 3.46 GAA, .891 SV%, 1 SO)
Power play: 16th – 18.1 per cent
Penalty kill: Eighth – 81.2 per cent
Injuries: F Artyom Baltruk (upper body, 7-10 days); F Ty Gerla (upper body, day to day); G Liam Hughes (lower body, week to week); F Jesse Roach (upper body, one week)
Brandon Wheat Kings
Head coach: David Anning
Scoring leaders: LW Ty Lewis (16-15-31); C Reid Duke (16-15-31); C Tanner Kaspick (11-16-27)
Goaltending leader: Jordan Papirny (10-7-1-0, 3.01 GAA, .916 SV%)
Power play: Fifth – 25.6 per cent
Penalty kill: 11th – 79.2 per cent
Injuries: F Linden McCorrister (upper body, week to week); F Nolan Patrick (upper body, week to week); F Zach Russell (upper body, week to week)
Oct. 25 – Brandon (5) at Edmonton (3)
Nov. 5 – Edmonton (6) at Brandon (3)
Dec. 9 – Brandon at Edmonton
Feb. 3 – Edmonton at Brandon
WHL on Shaw schedule
Friday, Dec. 16 – Regina Pats at Moose Jaw Warriors
Saturday, Dec. 17 – Kelowna Rockets at Calgary Hitmen