Receiving goals from new team captain Stelio Mattheos and alternate Schael Higson, the Wheat Kings relied on strong defence and rock solid goaltending from newcomer Jiri Patera in Friday’s victory over Winnipegger Jett Woo and the Moose Jaw Warriors at home in front of nearly 5,000 fans.
Mattheos got things going for Brandon in the final minutes of the first period with a power play strike. Higson picked up the lone assist on the game’s first goal. The Wheaties picked things up right where the left them off to begin the second frame, as the 19-year-old defenceman Higson collected the puck from Cole Reinhardt and buried it past Adam Evanoff, giving the home team a two-goal lead.
That early period strike eventually turned out to be the winner, as Moose Jaw could only manage one goal – Justin Almeida’s first of the campaign – on the night, with Vegas Golden Knights’ draft pick Patera turning aside 28 of 29 shots he faced. After being taken in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by Vegas, the Wheat Kings selected the 19-year-old, Czech netminder in the CHL Import Draft, making him the first European goaltender to collect a victory in Brandon Wheat Kings’ history.
The Wheat Kings and Warriors will finish off the second game of the home-and-home opening weekend showdown Saturday evening in Moose Jaw. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 P.M. central time.