The Brandon Wheat Kings hope to find the momentum they’ve been looking for on the long road to Cranbrook, B.C.
The Wheat Kings are in Cranbrook for back-to-back games tonight and tomorrow against the Kootenay Ice (7:30 both nights, CKLQ), and will wrap up the road trip Sunday by facing the Lethbridge Hurricanes on the way back.
Having dropped three of their last four games on home ice, the Wheat Kings have fallen into ninth place in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference at 9-9-2-1, and centre Tyrel Seaman said the team is anxious to atone for a disappointing homestand.
"A road trip like this, going into Kootenay for two games and then Lethbridge, we’ve got to get back some points that we may have gave away here these last couple games at home," Seaman said.
In theory, the Ice are the perfect candidates to help with that, sporting the worst record in the WHL at 5-12-1-0. But Kootenay is coming off an impressive 4-0 road win over the conference-leading Calgary Hitmen, and Brandon head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk is not expecting an easy time in Cranbrook.
"I think it’s a hard building to go in to play," he said. "(The Ice are) always a hard-working team. We’ve got to make sure that we’re prepared for it and prepared to have a good start."
Turning in a complete effort has been an issue for the Wheat Kings recently. The club began its recent four-game stretch with a poor first period in a 4-2 loss to the Calgary Hitmen. They followed that up with strong starts but weak finishes in splitting their next two contests, against the Hurricanes and the Seattle Thunderbirds, and finally were slow out of the gate again in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Swift Current Broncos.
"Consistency, number one (is needed)," defenceman Tyler Yaworski said. "Just being a hard-working team and putting pucks to the net and playing solid defensively."
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon C John Quenneville and G Jordan Papirny, a Wheat Kings prospect, have been named to Team Pacific (the Alberta and British Columbia squad) for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, beginning Dec. 29 in Victoriaville and Drummondville, Que …The independent International Scouting Service has announced its November rankings for next year’s National Hockey League entry draft, slotting Wheat Kings D Ryan Pulock 15th overall … Shortly taking over as interim coach of the Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday, owner/general manager Brent Sutter announced that the team’s leading scorer, C Charles Inglis, has been sent home to await a trade … The Vancouver Giants announced Thursday that their top scorer, LW Marek Tvrdon, has undergone surgery for a blood clot in his shoulder and will miss the rest of the season … Due to injuries in their overage groups, Regina and Prince George have picked up veteran 20-year-olds, with the Pats adding D Alex Theriau, while the Cougars brought in LW Ryan Hanes.