Wheat Kings Win Big on the Road
Prince Albert, SK. - The Brandon Wheat Kings, playing for their playoff lives, scored a huge win Friday night as they kicked off a weekend home and home series with the league leading Prince Albert Raiders.
Defenceman Zach Wytinck's goal with less than two minutes remaining in overtime lifted Brandon to a 5-4 victory to keep pace with Calgary in the battle for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference.
The two teams will wrap up the weekend set Saturday night - Don Cherry Night - at Westoba Place.
After trading goals in the first and second periods, the two teams entered the third tied at two.
After both teams took turns scoring in the first nine minutes of the final period, the Raiders took the lead when Parker Kelly scored his second of the game with eight minutes left in regulation. However, Luka Burzan replied seconds later, setting the stage for overtime.
Wytinck's game winner - his fourth goal of the year - came after the Glenboro product's shot went off a couple of players in front and eluded Raider netminder Boston Bilous.
Ben McCartney, Cole Reinhardt and Caiden Daley rounded out the scoring for the Wheat Kings, who improved to 25-22-3-4 on the season. The Raiders meanwhile lost for the first time in overtime this season. They're now 46-7-1-2 on the year.
With the win, the Wheat Kings remain six points behind Calgary with less than a month remaining in the 2018-19 regular season. It also moved Brandon to within six of Red Deer, who dropped a 6-4 decision to the Thunderbirds in Seattle Friday night.
Brandon coach David Anning says Friday night was an important win for a team battling to get back into playoff contention.
"I thought we were very resilient tonight," Anning told the Brandon Sun. "We were in some situations where we found ourselves down a goal and the two situations in the third period are key moments in the game where we're down a goal. I liked our response. I thought throughout the hockey game we had good speed and good energy to our game and played with some pace. I thought that we caused some problems just by how we were playing."
Jiri Patera stopped 28 of 32 shots for the win while Bilous turned aside 23 shots for the Raiders.
Saturday's game, presented by ReMax, will feature the Wheat Kings in special Don Cherry theme jerseys that will be auctioned off throughout the first two periods of play. All proceeds will benefit organ donations and the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
As well, two theme jerseys autographed by the star of Coaches Corner on Hockey Night in Canada, will be available Saturday. One will be auctioned off while the second will be available as a raffle draw.
Tickets to Saturday's game go back on sale at 10am Saturday at the Keystone Centre box office. Fans can also order online at keystonecentre.com or by calling (204) 726-3555.
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