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Raider reunion takes back seat

Nick Buonassisi tries to beat goaltender Curtis Honey during the Brandon Wheat Kings’ practice Thursday at Westman Place.

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Nick Buonassisi tries to beat goaltender Curtis Honey during the Brandon Wheat Kings’ practice Thursday at Westman Place.

Tyler Yaworski is happy to see his former Prince Albert Raiders teammates having success.

This is Tyler Yaworski’s first game against his former team.

Enlarge Image

This is Tyler Yaworski’s first game against his former team. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)

Just not this weekend.

Yaworski and the Brandon Wheat Kings take on the Raiders in a home-and-home series this weekend in the first meeting between the teams since the 20-year-old defenceman was traded here in August. Yaworski spent his first three Western Hockey League seasons in P.A., with the team finishing below .500 each season, and he’s impressed by the turnaround that has the Raiders at the top of the East Division at 16-7-0-2.

"I have some friends on there and it’s nice to see that finally they’re off to a better start but in saying that, my team’s Brandon," he said. "I’m focused on us and getting us back to .500 here."

While the Wheat Kings (10-11-2-1) have been unable to string together back-to-back victories since winning their first four games of the season, Yaworski doesn’t want to trade places with anyone right now. He believes better days are just around the corner for Brandon.

"We have a really good young team here," said Yaworski, who has three goals, four assists and a team-leading plus/minus of +15 in 21 games. "Our young guys have been playing well and so have our older guys and it’s a very exciting time in Brandon. I think once we sort out some of the consistency issues, we’ll be a very good team to watch here in the near future."

The Wheat Kings host the Raiders tonight, with the series shifting to Saskatchewan tomorrow. While a pessimist might look at the records for both teams and suggest this could be a long weekend for Brandon, veteran Wheat Kings right-winger Jason Swyripa looks at these games as more of an opportunity.

"We’re actually looking forward to it," he said. "We could really change the tide a lot with two big wins on the weekend here."

"You always want to knock off the top-seeded team, no matter what," Swyripa continued. "You’re not really a hockey player if you don’t want to do that."

ONE-TIMERS: D Ryan Pulock, C Tyrel Seaman, LW Alessio Bertaggia, RW Jens Meilleur and D Colton Waltz have yet to practise with the Wheat Kings this week. Bertaggia and Meilleur are on the injury list, while head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said earlier in the week that Pulock and Seaman were recovering from the flu. Waltz is away on a personal leave.

» rhenders@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 23, 2012

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Tyler Yaworski is happy to see his former Prince Albert Raiders teammates having success.

Just not this weekend.

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Tyler Yaworski is happy to see his former Prince Albert Raiders teammates having success.

Just not this weekend.

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