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Wheat Kings Face Tough Weekend

November 9, 2018 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Brandon Wheat Kings News Release

Brandon, MB. - Fresh off a grueling 7-game west coast road trip, the Brandon Wheat Kings return to the friendly confines of the Westoba Place this weekend for games against the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Friday and the Tri-City Americans on Sunday afternoon.

Brandon compiled a 2-3-1-1 record on its recent 2-week excursion out west, which included a 2-2-1-0 mark during its tour of the Western Conference's B.C. Division.

While the Wheat Kings expect to have their captain back for Friday night's date with the Rebels, the WHL club isn't expecting rookie Ridly Greig to be back. Greig is currently skating at the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge while Stelio Mattheos spent this past week with Team WHL as they split the first two games of this year's CIBC Canada-Russia Series.

The winner of the TELUS Player of the Month for the opening month of the 2018-19 regular season, Mattheos currently leads the Wheat Kings in scoring with sixteen goals and 28 points in seventeen games and during his 4-year career, the Carolina Hurricanes draft choice has scored 99 goals and 210 points in 205 games. During the club's road trip, he scored five goals and ten points. He has points in all but two of Brandon's games this season.

Greig meanwhile has two goals and 7 points in fourteen games.

The Wheat Kings, who have been forced to play the past month without veteran defenceman Schael Higson - who is currently out with a lower body injury - will also be missing veteran forward Connor Gutenberg Friday night.

The 19-year old local product was assessed a controversial one-game suspension for a charging major during a neutral zone hit on the Rockets Leif Mattson in Kelowna. Gutenberg, who is eligible to return to the lineup on Sunday, has scored at least a point in five consecutive games.

Friday's game will be the first of a 4-game season series between Brandon and Red Deer. During the 2017-18 campaign, the Wheat Kings compiled a 3-0-0-1 record against the Rebels.

The Rebels, who are coming off last weekend's 1-0 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary, enter the weekend sitting atop the competitive Central Division standings with an impressive 11-4-1-0 record and have won three straight games and seven of their last nine.

Leading Red Deer this season have been veterans Brandon Hagel, Alexander Alexeyev and Jeff de Witt.

Hagel, who recently signed with the National Hockey League's Chicago Blackhawks, had eighteen goals and 59 points last season. This year, he's off to a great start, having scored twelve goals and 28 points in sixteen games.

Alexeyev meanwhile has seven goals and 21 points and has at least a point in seven straight games. De Wit meanwhile has points in five straight games and has ten goals and 18 points in 16 games.

Friday's game is the first of a season high 6-game home stand for the Wheat Kings, who haven't played at home since October 20th.

Following this weekend, the Wheat Kings will host Medicine Hat and Prince Albert next weekend, before hosting Edmonton on Wednesday, November 21st (Rain Check Night) and Friday, November 23rd against Lethbridge.

Sunday's game is Koch Fertilizer Minor Hockey Day at Westoba Place and will feature a special pre-game Remembrance Day ceremonial opening face-off. Sunday's opponent - Tri-City - enters the weekend riding a 6-game winning streak.

Tickets to all Wheat Kings home games are on sale now at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling (204) 726-3555 or online at keystonecentre.com.


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