The Brandon Wheat Kings will be without the services of Latvian winger Rihards Bukarts when they visit the Calgary Hitmen tonight.
Bukats, 18, was suspended one game by the Western Hockey League on Thursday for kneeing Conner Bleackley in the Wheat Kings’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday. The players collided in the neutral zone in the first period and Bukarts, who had Brandon’s only goal at the time, was assessed a kneeing major and a game misconduct although Bleackley returned to play on the power play.
Bukarts is second among first-year WHLers with 19 goals in 50 games this season and tied with teammate Peter Quenneville for third among rookies with 38 points. He will be eligible to return to the lineup tomorrow when the Wheat Kings wrap up their road trip against the Saskatoon Blades.
The Wheat Kings, who are 26-18-5-1 this season to share first place in the East Division with the Swift Current Broncos, are 0-1-0-1 so far on the trip. They’ll also play tonight’s game (7:30, CKLQ) without leading scorer John Quenneville, who is out week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
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