Wheat Kings Double up Ice Saturday
Winnipeg, MB. - The Western Hockey League officially returned to Winnipeg Saturday and the Brandon Wheat Kings spoiled the party, doubling up the hometown Ice 4-2 in front of a crowd of 1,600 fans at renovated Wayne Fleming Arena.
The Wheat Kings, who lost 3-2 Friday night in their 2019 Home Opener, returned the favor on Saturday by scoring two unanswered second period goals en route to their first victory of the 2019-20 WHL season.
Trailing 2-1 after twenty minutes of play, Luka Burzan scored twice in the second, including the eventual game winner.
In the third, Caiden Daley had a goal waved off due to a high stick but Lynden McCallum iced the insurance goal moments later.
Ben McCartney, who would leave the game in the second period after being assessed a charging major, rounded out the scoring for the Wheat Kings, who despite running into penalty trouble throughout the game, were much better than Friday night's season opener.
"We were mostly invested in the game and I thought we played with more pace," Brandon coach Dave Lowry told the Brandon Sun. "The urgency and the compete were there tonight. We're still taking too many penalties. It's taking a lot out of our top buys...really extending their minutes."
In addition to losing McCartney in the second, the Wheat Kings were forced to play without 17-year old center Ridly Greig, after he was suspended by the league for a first period hit on Chase Hartje on Friday night. The length of his suspension has yet to be determined.
Brandon's Jiri Patera - for the second straight night - was excellent between the pipes, stopping 33 shots. Dean McNabb had 35 saves in the Winnipeg net.
Scoring goals in a losing cause for the Ice were Brad Ginnell and Michal Teply.
Saturday's game was the first WHL regular season game for a Winnipeg home team since 1984 when the old Winnipeg Warriors shared the Winnipeg Arena with the National Hockey League Jets.
Ironically, the Wheat Kings have played a number of regular season games in Winnipeg over the years. Both at the Arena and at Bell MTS Place.
The Wheat Kings return to action next weekend with a home and home series with Moose Jaw, beginning Friday night at Westoba Place.
Tickets to that game as well as all remaining regular season home games will go on sale Tuesday morning at the Keystone Centre box office. Fans can also call (204) 726-3555 or online at keystonecentre.com.
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