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Wheat Kings, ICE Maintain Winning Ways in Final Stretch Run

Photos by Keith Hershmiller

Wheat Kings, ICE Maintain Winning Ways in Final Stretch Run

The Western Hockey League has officially made the announcement to cancel its postseason. With that, the league’s winner(s) will be determined following regular season performances.

Currently sitting first in the East Division standings is the Brandon Wheat Kings with a league-best record of 16-3-2 for 34 points and a .810 points percentage on the season. Sitting just behind the Wheat Kings is the Saskatoon Blades (14-3-3) who have one game in hand on Brandon, while the Winnipeg ICE (15-5-1) have the third-best points percentage in he division (.738).

With a season as unpredictable as ever before, league officials made it clear that points percentage would be a widely-used conversation piece in the stretch run as the potential rescheduling of games continues to play a role as the 2020-21 regular season winds down.

On Wednesday, both the Wheat Kings and ICE picked up victories, with Brandon beating the Swift Current Broncos in typical blowout fashion, while Winnipeg narrowly escaped the Moose Jaw Warriors in overtime.

Adding to their East Division best +41 goal differential on the season, Brandon potted a 6-1 win over Swift Current, by way of three power play markers and a two-goal performance from Nolan Ritchie. Jake Chiasson, Nate Danielson, Rylan Thiessen and Lynden McCallum each had multi-point nights, while Ethan Kruger stopped all but one of the Broncos’ 18 shots on goal for his 11th win of the season.

Winnipeg, on the other hand, began Wednesday’s game with two goals before giving up three-straight and headed into the third period down 3-2. A fiery final frame saw the ICE score three times including two markers from Peyton Krebs, ultimately tying the game at fives with 1:12 to play. Jakin Smallwood then needed just 1:46 of overtime to win the game for Winnipeg. Carl Stankowski earned his fourth win of the season for the ICE.

With both teams now having played 21 of the scheduled 24 regular season games this season, three tests remain for both the Wheaties and ICE, with a potential first-pace finish on the line. Winnipeg sees Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Regina, while Brandon faces off against the same teams but just in a different order.

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at carterbrooks1994@gmail.com.

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