The Winnipeg ICE proved victorious on back-to-back occasions over the Brandon Wheat Kings in a late-December, home-and-home series between the newest Western Hockey League rivals Friday and Saturday evenings.
After travelling to the Wheat City Friday to hand the home team a 4-0 loss in the first game following the Holiday Break, the ICE returned home and once again took it to the Wheat Kings for the second-straight night, putting together a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory, sweeping the two-game series against their fellow Manitobans.
Connor McClennon opened the scoring for Winnipeg on Friday, before Peyton Krebs collected his second point of the game in the third period, kick-starting a three-goal frame for the visitors, as Isaac Johnson added two more goals for the ICE.
Krebs collected a goal and two assists, while Liam Hughes was perfect in net, stopping 28 of 28 shots for Winnipeg. Jiri Patera faltered, allowing four goals on 37 shots for Brandon.
Saturday’s contest saw the Wheat Kings jump out ahead with two goals in the first period off the sticks of Jonny Hooker and Chad Nychuk, respectively. Winnipeg product Carson Lambos tied the game very early into the third period while shorthanded. Owen Pederson then scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winner just four minutes later on a play setup by McClennon.
Both Lambos and McClennon had two points each in the game for Winnipeg, as the ICE improved to 21-13-1 on the season, while Brandon fell to 15-17-3 following the back-to-back weekend losses. Patera was once again outduelled by Liam Hughes in the battle of the netminders. Patera stopped 27 of 30 shots, while Hughes turned aside 25 of 27 pucks he faced.
It wasn’t all fun and games for the ICE, however, as 15-year-old ’emergency recall’ Matthew Savoie was knocked out midway through the first period as a result of a heavy Marcus Sekundiak open-ice hit. Winnipeg’s first overall selection in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft remained down on the ice for a number of minutes, before he was helped off. He is currently in good spirits and on the road to recovery.
Winnipeg will now travel to Prince Albert for a Monday evening game against the Raiders at 7:00 PM central. Brandon will host the Regina Pats at 7:00 PM on the same evening from Westoba Place in the Wheat City.