The Brandon Wheat Kings received some much-needed support in the form of new faces Tuesday night in their 2-1 shootout loss to the Kelowna Rockets at Westoba Place.
Recent trade acquisition defenceman Rylan Thiessen – a Brandonite sent over to the Wheat Kings from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for a 2020 sixth round selection in the WHL Bantam Draft – suited up in his first game for Brandon since winning the MMHL AAA Midget Championship last spring.
“We’re really excited to add Rylan to our lineup,” said Wheat Kings GM Darren Ritchie. “He was one of the best players in the Manitoba U18 League last season and was an important part of a championship team. Rylan is a good skater and has some good skill; He will be a good addition to our group.”
Thiessen was joined in uniform Tuesday by forward Marcus Kallionkieli, who the Wheat Kings chose in the first round of the 2019 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft this past spring. The fifth round selection of Kelly McCrimmon’s Vegas Golden Knights spent the first quarter of the 2019-20 season recovering from hip surgery after suffering the injury while dominating the USHL last year.
Both Thiessen and Kallionkieli dressed for Brandon on Tuesday in what ended up being a 2-1 loss. Both players saw ample icetime with Kallionkieli leading all Wheaties players with four shots on goal in his season debut.
Head Coach Dave Lowry offered his praises of Kallionkieli postgame, stating that the 18-year-old Finn will be a good player who he believes does many of the little things right.
The Wheat Kings will look to bounce back from their back-to-back shootout losses on Friday as the city of Brandon hosts its 26th annual Teddy Bear/Toque Toss against the Moose Jaw Warriors from Westoba Place at 7:30 PM central.