The two Manitoban Western Hockey League clubs at the Regina, Saskatchewan hub have certainly been able to get off the ground running. Having already said goodbye to the first quarter of the shortened 2020-21 season, both the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Winnipeg ICE currently find themselves in the playoff picture – should there be some sort of postseason.
Suiting up solely against the five other East Division clubs (Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert and Swift Current) the Wheat Kings and ICE have combined for a 9-3-1 record through the first 13 games – one of which actually featured both the teams (a 3-2 Wheat Kings win back on March 13).
Playing out of the Brandt Centre, the Manitoban rivals are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the East Division, behind the 5-0-1 Saskatoon Blades. Winnipeg (5-1-0) owns a .833 points percentage through six games, while Brandon (4-2-1) features a slightly lower .643 points percentage following its seven contests thus far.
On Tuesday, the ICE absolutely thrashed the host Regina Pats, by way of an 8-3 final, despite being outshot in the game. Winnipeg’s power play operated at 60 percent in the showing, with three goals coming off the man advantage. Rookie goaltender Daniel Hauser earned his second win of the season, turning aside 32 of 35 shots directed his way.
Peyton Krebs, Connor McClennon, Owen Pederson and Zach Benson each had three point nights, while Conor Geekie and Jakin Smallwood both had two points to their respective names. In fact, only four members of the ICE finished the game without a point.
Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon, where the Wheat Kings decided to one-up their provincial rivals, beating the Moose Jaw Warriors 8-2. Scoring just 25 seconds into the game, Brandon absolutely threw the hammer down in the opening period, leading 4-1 after just 20 minutes of play.
Rookies Nate Danielson and Logan Hammet each scored their first career WHL markers in the second period, 57 seconds apart. Brandon ended up outshooting Moose Jaw 42-29, with goaltender Connor Ungar collecting the win. Ridly Greig, Jake Chiasson, Rylan Thiessen and Nate Danielson each had three points in the outing.
Thursday evening will be a special day for both the Wheat Kings and ICE as the two teams will square off for the second time this season in a 9:00 PM central matchup at the Brandt Centre.