Just one day after Manitoban Western Hockey League rival Winnipeg ICE lost 10-1 on the road in Edmonton to a hungry Oil Kings team, the Brandon Wheat Kings picked up a 9-1 road win at Innovation Credit Union i-plex in Swift Current over the host Broncos, securing their place in the WHL playoffs.
The Wheat Kings pummelled their opponent in both the goal and shot department, pulling ahead to a 2-0 lead on 17 shots through the first period. Brandon then scored on four of its 12 shots in the middle stanza, before adding another three goals on 17 third period shots. The Wheaties finished the day with 46 shots on goal, as compared to Swift Current’s 20.
Captain Connor Gutenberg opened the scoring for Brandon 4:21 into the period, before Dom Schmiemann added the visitors’ second goal of the opening 20. Luka Burzan scored in each of the two remaining periods, while Ridly Greig, Cole Reinhardt, Schmiemann, Burzan and Gutenberg each posted multi-point efforts.
Every single Wheat Kings player finished the game as a ‘plus’ skater, with Lynden McCallum taking the cake, finishing a +5. Greig followed closely behind at +4. McCallum also paced the team with six shots on goal.
Brandon netminder Jiri Patera had an easy night, picking up his 22nd win of the season – good for fourth place across the league. Patera (22-11-5) is also fourth in save percentage with a .922 mark, up 14 decimal points from his .906 save percentage from 2018-19. The Vegas Golden Knights draft pick’s five shutouts places him second in the WHL.
The Swift Current Broncos left their goaltender Isaiah DiLaura hung out to dry, as the third-year backstop allowed all nine goals, staying in the Broncos’ crease for the duration of the game. In seven games with Swift Current, DiLaura owns a shaky 6.20 goals against average to go alongside a .870 save percentage. He has not yet won a game since being picked up from the Portland Winterhawks.
With the win, the Wheat Kings have punched their ticket to the WHL postseason, while currently sporting a 32-21-6 record, good for second place in the East Division. The team continues its five-game road trip on Friday with an 8:00 PM central battle with the Calgary Hitmen at Scotiabank Saddledome, before travelling to Lethbridge and Prince Albert to close the lengthy trip.