The Brandon Wheat Kings are hoping to get a little help tonight for their rematch with the Calgary Hitmen.
The Hitmen hammered the Wheat Kings 10-2 last Wednesday in Calgary, a game in which Brandon played without both 19-year-old left-winger Alessio Bertaggia (Swiss world junior team) and 20-year-old left-winger Michael Ferland (upper-body injury).
Ferland, who has missed the past three games due to injury after being reassigned to junior two weeks ago by the NHL’s Calgary Flames, practised fully on Monday, an indication that he should be cleared to return to the lineup tonight when Brandon (14-24-2-2) battles Calgary (27-10-1-3) at Westman Place at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, Bertaggia, who has missed the past 10 games while playing for Switzerland at the world junior hockey championship in Ufa, Russia, was travelling from overseas Monday and was expected to arrive in Brandon late last night or early this morning and may return to the lineup tonight.
Officially, Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said both will be game-day decisions. However, there’s no doubt they would be a significant boost to the lineup for a team that has now lost four straight games.
"For sure we are well aware of who we are playing and (what happened) the last time we played against the Calgary Hitmen and our players are well aware of that," Gylywoychuk said. "We’re playing at home, it’s an opportunity for us to get back on track and when you add two extra players like those two guys to the lineup, if it does happen, for sure it’s going to give a boost to your lineup."
Rookie Wheat Kings centre John Quenneville, 16, skated on his own after practice yesterday, but is not expected to play as he recovers from a groin injury suffered while playing for Team Pacific at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Quebec. Meanwhile, Wheat Kings centre Tyrel Seaman, 18, remains out indefinitely with a concussion.
During their recent slide, the Wheat Kings have slipped to eight points out of a playoff position and into 11th place out of 12 teams in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.
ICINGS: C Jayce Hawryluk is the Wheat Kings’ Tip Top Tailors player of the month for December. The 16-year-old native of Roblin, who recently returned from playing for Team West at the World Under-17s, scored three goals and had eight points to finish second in Wheat King scoring last month. In 34 games overall this season, Hawryluk has nine goals and 23 points ... The Hitmen acquired D Jesse Zgraggen, 19,from the Victoria Royals for a 2013 fourth-round WHL bantam draft pick Monday. Meanwhile, the Swift Current Broncos got C Jay Merkley, 17, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for LW Josh Derko, 19, and a 2014 third-round pick ... Tonight is the second ‘2 For Tuesday Night’ of the season, with fans who purchase an adult ticket receiving the second one for free, while the Keystone Centre is also offering $2 hot dogs, popcorn and drinks during tonight’s game.