For the 14th time in the team’s storied history, the Brandon Wheat Kings are the Western Hockey League’s East Division regular season champions. Needing to pick up one more win in the club’s final two games, Brandon took care of business with a 5-1 thrashing of the Regina Pats on Sunday evening.
Lynden McCallum had four power play goals, Ridly Greig scored his league-leading fourth shorthanded marker, while Ben McCartney and captain Braden Schneider each earned four assists on the night.
Greig got things going with the only goal of the first period, scoring while down a man midway through a Reid Perepeluk checking to the head minor. His 10th of the season gave the Wheaties a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes, despite being outshot in the opening frame 15-11.
Tanner Howe then scored the equalizer early on in the second period, before alternate captain Lynden McCallum took over the game with four-straight goals. With Regina taking four-straight penalties, McCallum scored two power play goals late in the second period, before adding another two to start the third period.
4th GOAL of the game for Lynden McCallum!!
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) April 26, 2021
Putting up four goals in 2:58 of game time, McCallum quickly took over the team lead in goal scoring with 19 total markers on the season. It was also the second-fastest four goals from a single player since 1972 (Boyd Anderson, Flin Flon Bombers).
“Right from training camp, we said ‘let’s be the best team here,’” McCallum said post-game. “Whatever they let us play for, we want to try and win it. So before the game, I was so proud of all the guys. Everyone was so focused. We had some rocky moments there in this game but we stuck with it.”
Ethan Kruger was solid in net for the Wheat Kings once again, turning aside 34 of the 35 shots he faced in the game, outdueling his counterpart Matthew Kieper, who only managed to stop 25 of 30 pucks sent his way.
Brandon now sits at 18-3-2 through 23 games and is guaranteed a first place in the East Division. With the postseason having been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a first-place finish is the top honour attainable in the shortened 2020-21 season. The Wheat Kings now close out the season with one final matchup against the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday evening.