The Brandon Wheat Kings weathered the storm on a potential Winnipeg ICE comeback Friday evening, beating their closest geographical rival 7-4 from Westoba Place.
The game was a back-and-forth contest that saw the ICE jump out to an early lead and maintain it through the first period. Two goals from Jackson Leppard gave Winnipeg a slight 2-1 advantage through 20 minutes of play, while Connor Gutenberg scored Brandon’s only goal in the first period.
The middle stanza was almost all Wheat Kings, as Cole Reinhardt, Ridly Greig and Lyndon McCallum found the net for the home team. Owen Pederson scored a backhander on a rush up ice, but Brandon held on to a 4-3 lead through two periods of play.
The third period saw Pederson tie the game early on his second marker of the game, only to see his teammates fall flat for the remaining 17 minutes of action. Marcus Sekundiak restored Brandon’s lead midway through the frame, before Cole Reinhardt finished off his hat trick with back-to-back strikes late in the period.
Winnipeg outshot Brandon 40-31 in the teams’ fourth meeting of the season. Jiri Patera stopped 36 of 40 shots he faced, while Jesse Makaj had a forgettable showing, only managing 24 saves on 31 shots. The two teams will do it all over again Saturday evening in Winnipeg, as the teams travel to Wayne Fleming Arena for the second game of the home-and-home series.