The Hockey Winnipeg AA Minor Peewee League’s top two scorers came through in a big way for the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday night.
Ty Thorpe, who led the league with 46 goals and 74 points, scored four times in the fifth and deciding game of the championship final in Winnipeg.
Meanwhile, Nolan Ritchie, who was second to Thorpe in league scoring with 53 points, supplied the game-winner with five seconds left in regulation as the Wheat Kings edged the Assiniboine Park Rangers 5-4 to take the series 3-2.
It’s the first time a Brandon team has won a Winnipeg AA league championship, and the Wheat Kings did it in dramatic fashion. They gave up four goals in the first period and closed the gap to three before the end of the second. Brandon was forced to kill off a 5-on-3 power play for 1:39 early in the third before Thorpe rolled off three straight goals and Ritchie capped the comeback.
Brandon assistant coach Jason Thorpe was especially proud of his players for the amount of time they spent on the road in the post-season.
“The hardest part about winning that league is all the playoff games are in Winnipeg, so that was our 11th bus trip to Winnipeg in two-and-a-half weeks,” he said. “The kids really gutted it out.”
The league title capped a solid season as the Wheat Kings finished first with a 21-3-0-3 record, five points ahead of the second-place Rangers. Brandon beat Selkirk 3-1 in the best-of-five semifinals, with Ritchie scoring three straight goals —including the OT winner — in Brandon’s 5-4 win in Game 4.
Meanwhile, the Major Peewee AA Wheat Kings were swept by the Winnipeg Twins in their best-of-five league final. The Wheat Kings finished the regular season with a 20-3-3-2 record, putting them two points up on the Twins for top spot.
» Brandon Sun