BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Wheat Kings forward Alessio Bertaggia, right, streaks up the ice during practice Friday at Westman Place.
After back-to-back losses to Swift Current this week, you’d think the Brandon Wheat Kings would have seen enough of the Broncos by now.
But the East Division rivals meet again on Saturday in Swift Current, Sask. (6:30 p.m., CKLQ) and the Wheat Kings are champing at the bit to get another shot at the Broncos.
"Losing two games in a row now against them, gets a burn inside," said Swiss winger Alessio Bertaggia, who leads the Wheat Kings in scoring this season with 15 goals and 30 points in 25 games. "For me, and I think for all the guys too, it gets a lot of motivation for Saturday and we’ll give our best to win that game."
In fact, the Broncos have now beaten the Wheat Kings three times this month, with Wednesday’s 5-1 decision at Westman Place being the most lopsided of the bunch. Tied at the beginning of the week, the Broncos (11-12-3-2) have moved up into a share of sixth place in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, while the Wheat Kings (10-15-2-1) have drifted down to 11th.
After Saturday, the teams don’t meet again until late February, and rookie John Quenneville said the Wheat Kings are anxious to get something out of their series with the Broncos.
"We get a chance to play them on Saturday and that’s big for us," said Quenneville, who scored the Wheat Kings’ lone goal on Wednesday. "We can get revenge in their barn and it wouldn’t be a better feeling than beating them."
Saying that is one thing, but doing it is another, and the Wheat Kings have rarely put themselves in a position to beat anyone lately, losing four straight games and eight of their last nine. The lone reprieve during that stretch was on Nov. 18 when the Wheat Kings bounced back from a 2-1 second-period deficit to beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-3.
In their last six losses, the Wheat Kings have fallen behind by at least four goals at some point in each of those games.Bertaggia said the biggest challenge he and his teammates face is keeping their focus on what they need to do to start turning some of those losses into wins.
"Obviously, it’s a little frustrating but every guy tries to work as hard as he can and that’s how you get through adversity," Bertaggia said. "… It can’t go right all the time and when it gets hard, that’s where you see where the good players are and where good teams are."
ONE-TIMERS: Swift Current hosts Spokane tonight … The Wheat Kings will wrap up their weekend road trip on Sunday against the Medicine Hat Tigers before returning home to play four straight at Westman Place … Red Deer has acquired Slovakian LW Filip Vasko, 19, from Kelowna for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 30, 2012