Dominant Second Leads Wheat Kings Past Rebels

December 5, 2023 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Brandon Wheat Kings News Release

With the Red Deer Rebels nipping at their heels in the Eastern Conference standings, the Brandon Wheat Kings needed to buy themselves a little bit of breathing room. Thanks to some veteran presence and a dominant second period, they did just that.

Nate Danielson scored twice and Carson Bjarnason stopped 23 of 25 shots thrown his way as the Wheat Kings beat the Rebels 5-2 on home ice. Nolan Flamand, Brett Hyland, and Luke Shipley also scored in the win.

"We talked for the last couple days about this being a man's game tonight," said Wheat Kings head coach and GM Marty Murray. "I thought we were overwhelmed for the better part of the first, but we came out and matched their intensity and physicality and really executed some nice plays in the second period."

Though the Rebels had the better of play at times in the first, the Wheat Kings matched them goal for goal. After Kai Uchacz opened the scoring, Flamand answered right back for the Wheat Kings on the power play, one-timing a shot off the post and in. Then, after Roger McQueen shot for a rebound off the rush, Danielson drove the net and cashed in his ninth.

A strange play squared the score as Carson Birnie found the puck that Bjarnason thought he'd covered and wrapped it around and in. The Rebels had a chance to take the game over not long after, with 1:11 of 5-on-3. The Wheat Kings killed it all, however, and counterpunched in the second.

First, Shipley joined the rush and took a clever feed from Dominik Petr before snapping home his third. Then, as the Wheat Kings cycled the Rebels into the ice, Hyland shook loose, cut across the zone, and sniped his team-leading 15th.

Danielson added to the Wheat Kings lead before the period was out. At 4-on-4, he got separation from his check and turned and fired the puck from the top of the right circle, catching Rhett Stoesser unaware and putting Brandon up 5-2.

The hard-working Rebels pushed back in the third, and drew several power play opportunities. The Wheat Kings killed them all, however, and wrapped up the game nicely with a 5-2 win.

The win gives the Wheat Kings a four-point lead on the Rebels in the playoff race, and temporarily vaults them over Swift Current and Lethbridge. They're right back to work on Friday night, when they host the Moose Jaw Warriors.

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