Wheat Kings visit Giants on WHL on Shaw

CJ Relke


Brandon Wheat Kings (13-9-3-0) at
Vancouver Giants (10-16-1-1)
Friday, Dec. 2 – 7:30 p.m. (Pacific)/ 9:30 p.m. (Central) – Langley Events Centre
Channels: Local Shaw SD; HD304; Shaw Direct Satellite TV HD Classic 120 or HD Advanced 620

With seven wins in their previous 10 outings, the Brandon Wheat Kings will look to keep rolling Friday night (7:30 p.m. Pacific) when they visit the Vancouver Giants on WHL on Shaw.

Without the services of star centre Nolan Patrick, who hasn’t played a game since Oct. 11 due to injury, the Wheat Kings have found all kinds of production from other places in the lineup as they chip away in the East Division, slowly working their way up the charts.

While the Wheat Kings are working in the right direction, the Giants find themselves in a bit of a slump, having gone six games without a win. The Giants’ last victory came Nov. 16 – a 5-3 triumph over the Prince Albert Raiders. Since then, Vancouver dropped four consecutive regulation decisions before falling in a shootout and overtime this past week.

This marks the lone meeting of the season between the two cross-conference opponents. One has to roll all the way back to Oct. 6, 2015, to find the last gathering between the Wheat Kings and the Giants. It went into the books as an 8-3 triumph for the host Wheat Kings with the now-departed due of Jayce Hawryluk and John Quenneville collecting five points (1G-4A) and four points (2G-2A), respectively.

Back in present day, Reid Duke has stepped up in the absence of Patrick, leading the Wheat Kings in scoring with 31 points (16G-15A) in 18 games. The 20-year-old Duke has plenty of support, with Ty Lewis (15-14-29), Tanner Kaspick (11-16-27) and Stelio Mattheos (11-14-25) all producing at respectable rates.

For the Giants, Slovakian import Radovan Bondra – Chicago Blackhawks prospect – paces the offense with 27 points (17G-10A) through 26 games. Edmonton Oilers prospect Tyler Benson (8-17-25) and New York Rangers prospect Ty Ronning (10-12-22) remain hot on Bondra’s heels in the race for the Vancouver scoring lead.

Veteran Jordan Papirny continues to shoulder the heavy load for Brandon, appearing in 17 contests to date and managing a record of 10-5-1-0 with a 2.96 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Logan Thompson, 19, has found his way into nine games as well, maintaining a record of 3-4-2-0 with a 2.95 GAA, .914 SV% and one shutout.

At the other end, Ryan Kubic has been a workhorse for the Giants, seeing action in 24 games and collecting a record of 8-12-1-1 with a 3.60 GAA, .889 SV% and one shutout. Rookie David Tendeck has spelled Kubic off on seven occasions, gathering a record of 2-4-0-0.

Giants LW Tyler Benson

Vancouver Giants

Record: 10-16-1-1
Head coach:  Jason McKee
Scoring leaders: LW Radovan Bondra (17-10-27); LW Tyler Benson (8-17-25); RW Ty Ronning (10-12-22)
Goaltending leader: Ryan Kubic (8-12-1-1, 3.60 GAA, .889 SV%, 1 SO)
Power play: 20th – 13.5 per cent
Penalty kill: 20th – 72.9 per cent
Injuries: D Ryely McKinstry (upper body, indefinite); D Ryan Jones (upper body, indefinite)

Wheat Kings C Reid Duke

Brandon Wheat Kings

Record: 13-9-3-0
Head coach: David Anning
Scoring leaders: C Reid Duke (16-15-31); LW Ty Lewis (15-14-29); C Tanner Kaspick (11-16-27)
Goaltending leader: Jordan Papirny (10-5-1-0, 2.96 GAA, .917 SV%)
Power play: Fourth – 26.9 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)

Season series

Dec. 2 – Brandon at Vancouver

WHL on Shaw schedule

Wednesday, Dec. 7 – Calgary Hitmen at Saskatoon Blades
Friday, Dec. 9 – Brandon Wheat Kings at Edmonton Oil Kings
Friday, Dec. 16 – Regina Pats at Moose Jaw Warriors
Saturday, Dec. 17 – Kelowna Rockets at Calgary Hitmen

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