Brandon Wheat Kings (12-8-3-0) at Saskatoon Blades (9-15-1-0)
Friday, Nov. 25 – 7 p.m. (Central) – SaskTel Centre
Channels: Local Shaw SD; Shaw HD304
The red-hot Brandon Wheat Kings will look to get back in the win column after a momentary stumble as they travel west to take on the Saskatoon Blades on WHL on Shaw Friday night (7 p.m. Central).
Prior to Tuesday’s 5-3 defeat at the hands of the surging Medicine Hat Tigers, the Wheat Kings were doing work of their own, having won five consecutive outings. The run has helped Brandon claw back within striking distance of the second place Swift Current Broncos (13-7-2-4, 32 points) and third place Moose Jaw Warriors (13-5-4-0) in the ever-competitive East Division.
As for the Blades, they’ve drop four straight decisions and sit eight points back of the Wheat Kings.
This marks the third meeting between the two East Division rivals in the past seven days, with the Wheat Kings having claimed both contests to date. Last week, the Wheat Kings and Blades met for back-to-back outings at Westman Place, with Brandon claiming victories of 8-1 and 6-3.
Reid Duke exploded with four goals in an 8-1 win for Brandon on Nov. 18 before Ty Lewis contributed two goals and an assist in a 6-3 victory the following night.
The Wheat Kings are led into battle by both Duke and Lewis, who stand as the team’s top two scorers to date, with captain Nolan Patrick still on the shelf due to an upper-body injury. Duke, a 20-year-old veteran, has 27 points (15G-12A) to his name, while Lewis has chipped in 26 points (14G-12A). Not to be forgotten is Tanner Kaspick and his 25 points (10G-15A), as well as 2017 NHL Entry Draft eligible forward Stelio Mattheos, who has turned it on in the absence of Patrick, having collected 24 points (11G-13A).
Mason McCarty has proven the sharpest Blade to date, having accrued 22 points (14G-8A) in 25 games. The 19-year-old product of Blackie, Alta., is already closing on career numbers all of which he set in 2015-16 when he collected 28 points (18G-10A) in 64 games with Saskatoon.
The Wheat Kings have received reliable goaltending from them tandem between the pipes. Overage veteran Jordan Papirny has secured a record of 9-5-1-0 with a 3.02 goals-against average and .916 save percentage, while 19-year-old Logan Thompson is 3-3-2-0 with a 2.94 GAA, .916 SV% and one shutout.
At the other end, the Blades counter with Logan Flodell and Brock Hamm.
Flodell, who was acquired in a pre-season deal with the Seattle Thunderbirds, was the WHL’s Goaltender of the Month for September/October and has carried the bulk of the workload, going 8-7-0-0 with a 3.05 GAA, .913 SV% and two shutouts.
Friday marks the third of eight contests between the Wheat Kings and Blades this season. Following Friday’s festivities, the Wheat Kings and Blades will re-engage for a home-and-home series to be played Dec. 16 and 17.
Head coach: Dean Brockman
Scoring leaders: RW Mason McCarty (14-8-22); C Wyatt Sloboshan (3-11-14); LW Braylon Shmyr (7-5-12)
Goaltending leader: Logan Flodell (8-7-0-0, 3.05 GAA, .913 SV%, 2 SO)
Power play: 16th – 18.0 per cent
Penalty kill: 22nd – 72.0 per cent
Injuries: F Cameron Hebig (upper body, week to week); D Jake Kustra (upper body, day to day); F Kolten Olynek (upper body, day to day); D Mark Rubinchik (lower body, day to day); F Jesse Shynkaruk (upper body, day to day)
Brandon Wheat Kings
Head coach: David Anning
Scoring leaders: C Reid Duke (15-12-27); LW Ty Lewis (14-12-26); C Tanner Kaspick (10-15-25)
Goaltending leader: Jordan Papirny (9-5-1-0, 3.02 GAA, .916 SV%)
Power play: Fourth – 27.0 per cent
Penalty kill: 11th – 78.5 per cent
Injuries: F Linden McCorrister (upper body, week to week); F Nolan Patrick (upper body, week to week)
Nov. 18 – Saskatoon (1) at Brandon (8)
Nov. 19 – Saskatoon (3) at Brandon (6)
Nov. 25 – Brandon at Saskatoon
Dec. 16 – Saskatoon at Brandon
Dec. 17 – Brandon at Saskatoon
Jan. 3 – Saskatoon at Brandon
Jan. 20 – Brandon at Saskatoon
Feb. 11 – Brandon at Saskatoon
WHL on Shaw schedule
Tuesday, Nov. 29 – Prince Albert Raiders at Medicine Hat Tigers
Friday, Dec. 2 – Brandon Wheat Kings at Vancouver Giants
Wednesday, Dec. 7 – Calgary Hitmen at Saskatoon Blades