The Brandon Wheat Kings have jumped out to a three-game-to-none advantage in the battle of Manitoba within the shortened 2020-21 Western Hockey League regular season schedule.
After having beaten the Winnipeg ICE 3-2 back on March 13 in just the second date of the team’s calendar, Brandon then took the second contest by way of a 4-3 on March 25. On Wednesday evening, the Wheat Kings earned their third-straight victory over Winnipeg with a back-and-forth 5-3 win at the Brandt Centre in the Regina Hub.
Although outshot 41-26 on the night, Brandon collected its 13th win of the season with a strong outing from netminder Connor Ungar (5-1-0). In doing so, the team re-took its share of first place within the East Division, where it is now tied with the Saskatoon Blades with 28 points.
Ungar led the way with 38 stops on 41 Winnipeg shots, including turning aside all six of the ICE’s power play opportunities. Despite seeing six separate penalty kills, the Wheat Kings did not have one power play chance in the game.
Ben McCartney had a hat trick, while Ridly Greig earned two assists in the showdown, as all Brandon players finished the night even or better in the plus/minus department. Riley Ginnell opened the scoring just 1:52 into the game with his fourth goal of the season, before Brett Hyland added another midway through the frame.
The teams then exchanged goals with Connor McClennon, Conor Geekie and Owen Pederson each scoring for Winnipeg. McCartney sealed the deal on both the game and his hat trick with nine seconds remaining as he fired the puck into the empty net for the 5-3 victory.
Currently owning a .778 points percentage, Brandon sits just above Winnipeg (.706) in the East Division. The ICE, however, do have one game in hand on the Wheat Kings, but sit four points behind their fellow provincial rivals. The two teams next face off against one another on Sunday in a 5:00 PM showdown. Brandon will battle Moose Jaw on Saturday, while Winnipeg plays Swift Current on Friday.