Following a 10-0-0 run that had the Brandon Wheat Kings performing at the highest level of all Canadian Hockey League teams from December 30 to January 24, the team fell 6-5 in overtime to Lethbridge on last Saturday, before heading out on a four-game road trip through Alberta.
The trip began on a sour note for the Wheat Kings, as Brandon dropped back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in Edmonton and Red Deer, respectively. The Manitobans gave up 11 goals in two games while only scoring six times in their 6-2 and 5-4 weekday losses.
For reference, Brandon had only been scored on 10 times during the 10-game winning streak.
The Wheat Kings then travelled to Calgary for a Friday night battle at the Saddledome with Jett Woo and the Hitmen, before moving to Red Deer to wrap up the four-game trek Saturday.
Friday’s contest with Calgary proved to be goaltender Jiri Patera’s fifth shutout of the season, fourth of the month, and sixth of his Western Hockey League career. The Vegas Golden Knights draft pick once again stood on his head, turning aside all 37 shots he faced in a 4-0 victory. Luka Burzan had two goals and an assist, while Marcus Sekundiak and Lynden McCallum also scored for the Wheaties. Chad Nychuk had two assists.
Brandon struck early on Saturday, jumping out to a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play, before holding off a strong Rebels third period attack, en route to a 4-3 win. Patera made 35 stops on 38 Red Deer shots, while Duncan Pierce, Ben McCartney, Vinny Iorio and Luka Burzan scored for the Wheat Kings. Braden Schneider added two assists and was named the game’s third star.
Now back in the win column and sitting third in the East Division, Brandon improved its record to 12-2-1 in its last 15 games, while serving as victors in two-straight. The team will look to continue with its new winning streak on Friday, as the Wheat Kings return home to host Medicine Hat at 7:30 PM central from Westoba Place.