Don’t look now, but the Brandon Wheat King are on quite a tear. Rolling up the ranks and currently sitting second in the East Division, Manitoba’s longest-serving Western Hockey League club has seen three-straight victories, or what would translate to roughly 8.5-straight victories in a standard 68-game regular season (X 2.83334 multiplier).
Seeing the 2020-21 season schedule trimmed down by 64.7 percent to just 24 games for each club, every single point – not just wins or losses – but every point earned and allowed carries heavy repercussions.
Currently sitting at 6-2-1 for 13 points and a .722 points percentage through the team’s first nine matchups, Brandon is already 37.5 percent through the regular season.
Yes, 37.5 percent.
The East Division bubble in Regina has only been underway for 14 days, but through two weeks, over one-third of the club’s games have been played.
With the powerhouse Saskatoon Blades (7-0-1) leading the way with 15 points in just eight games for a stellar .938 points percentage, Brandon will need to continue in its current winning ways to maintain its lead over provincial rival Winnipeg ICE (6-3-0) which sits just one point back of the Wheaties, but only owns a .667 points percentage. As explained earlier, every point counts for that much more in 2020-21.
The remaining competitors making up the seven-team East Division are the 3-3-2 Prince Albert Raiders (.500), the 4-5-0 Moose Jaw Warriors (.444), the 2-4-2 Regina Pats (.375) and the 2-6-1 Swift Current Broncos (.278). In past years, two teams from the Eastern Conference would earn Wild Card playoff spots as a combination of top-two remaining Central and East Division teams.
With teams, players, coaches, management and fans alike all in he dark regarding a potential playoff framework, or even the possibility of a 2020-21 WHL postseason/championship, teams will continue to focus on the ‘points percentage’ statistic beside their names in the standings chart, as the potential for game postponements/cancelations remains a real issue.
In referring back to the 2.83334 multiplier, which would indicate just how much a single standings point is worth in the 2020-21 season, Brandon will look to continue its current hot streak as two of its next three games include opponents beneath the Wheat Kings in the standings. The other? The league’s top club, the Saskatoon Blades.
Of Brandon’s 15 remaining games, exactly one-third (5) come against the Blades and ICE. The remaining 10 games (or two thirds of the schedule) is against teams carrying a points percentage of .500 or less. Five games feature competition against the East Division’s bottom two clubs (Swift Current or Regina). The remaining five games come against the Prince Albert Raiders and Moose Jaw Warriors, who sit just outside of the East Division playoff picture.