The Brandon Wheat Kings have made the turn for home.
The Western Hockey League club reached the farthest point of its West Coast road trip Wednesday night when the Wheat Kings visited the Portland Winterhawks in a game that was in progress as of press time.
The Wheat Kings will play two more games as they work their way back to Brandon, on Friday against the Everett Silvertips and on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
The Wheat Kings (7-8-0-0) were 0-3 on the trip going into last night’s game against the Winterhawks. But following Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds, Brandon head coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon said performances like the game against the T-Birds, who moved into first in the WHL’s overall standings, are what he is looking for in the late stages of the trip.
“A road win for us is probably going to look like a 3-2 type of game,” said McCrimmon, whose team got to within a goal of the Thunderbirds in the third period before Seattle scored into an empty net. “(Tuesday’s) game was in a lot of respects the type of game we want to play on the road.”
Seth Swenson had a goal and two assists for the Thunderbirds (11-3-0-2) on Tuesday, while Ryley Lindgren and Jens Meilleur netted the Wheat Kings’ markers. Brandon rookie Jordan Papirny had 30 saves, matching the total posted by Seattle’s Danny Mumaugh.
The Silvertips (10-2-2-0) present another onerous challenge for the Wheat Kings, although Brandon will escape facing Everett’s No.1 goalie. Austin Lotz, who is third in the WHL with a 2.36 goals-against average and shares the league lead with nine wins, injured his ankle on Saturday and is listed as being out week-to-week by the team.
“There was some concern at first that it was maybe a six-week injury,” Silvertips head coach Kevin Constantine told Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald. “We’re hopeful that it’s maybe only half of that, maybe three or four weeks.”
Daniel Cotton, who has played only three games this season, becomes Everett’s starter, while the Herald reports that 16-year-old Nik Amundrud has been called up from his Midget AA team in Melfort, Sask.
ONE-TIMERS: Portland entered this week’s Canadian Hockey League rankings in sixth place. The Spokane Chiefs held steady at No.3, while the Seattle Thunderbirds slipped a spot to ninth. The Silvertips are an honourable mention … A pair of Brandon rookies, LW Brett Kitt and LW Tyler Coulter, earned their first WHL assists Tuesday. It was Coulter’s first career WHL point.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 31, 2013