Brandon Wheat Kings
Red Deer, AB. — The Brandon Wheat Kings got back on the winning track Friday night as they continued their 3-game Alberta road trip in Red Deer.
Captain Mark Stone, playing in his final game before leaving for the Natioinal Junior Selection Camp in Calgary, scored twice and set up another as the Wheat Kings stopped Red Deer 5-3 to snap a 2-game losing streak.
Alessio Bertaggia, Jordan Fransoo and Darian Dziurzynski also scored for the Wheat Kings, who trailed 2-1 after the opening period of play. The two teams were deadlocked at two through forty minutes.
Among the keys to Friday’s win was the play of veteran netminder Brandon Anderson. The former Lethbridge Hurricane turned aside forty shots in backstopping the Wheat Kings, who improved their record to 19-12-1-1 on the season.
“He’s a veteran guys and we have to get him started playing some games, and he’s going to get to play some games now,” Brandon assistant coach Darren Ritchie told Bruce Luebke on CKLQ’s post-game show. “I thought he made some big saves late in the game, when they had some chances in the third. That’s what you want from your goaltender, just to make that save at the right time and that’s what we got tonight.”
A Washington Capitals’ prospect, Anderson will be busy for the forseeable future as the Wheat Kings learned Friday that 18-year old netminder Corbin Boes suffered a broken hand during Thursday’s loss in Edmonton and will be lost to the club indefinitely.
Backing Anderson up on Friday was 15-year old Edmonton product Jordan Papirny. A first round bantam draft choice of the Wheat Kings last May, Papirny was the gold medal winning goalkeeper on Team Alberta during October’s Western Canadian U16 Challenge Cup in Moose Jaw.
With the score tied entering the third, Bertaggia scored at the 2:13 mark to give the Wheat Kings their first lead of the game. Fransoo made it 4-2 Brandon four minutes later and the Wheat Kings went on to the win and extended Red Deer’s losing streak to a dozen games.
Alex Petrovic, who will join Stone and left-winger Michael Ferland at the National Junior camp Saturday in Calgary, scored once and set up goals by Colten Mayor and Matt Dumba in a losing cause.
With the win, the Wheat Kings moved to within two points of the front running Moose Jaw Warriors in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Division. The win was also Brandons tenth road victory of the year, matching last year’s entire total. After losing all four games against the Rebels in 2010-11, the Wheat Kings are 2-0-0 vs Red Deer this season.
The Wheat Kings close out this week’s Alberta trip with a game against the Hitmen in Calgary on Sunday. They will then return home for back to back games against Kelowna and Kamloops on Tuesday and Friday nights. Tuesday night is the first of two Rain Check games of the season, which means any “unused” ticket can be exchanged at the Keystone Centre box office for a “free” ticket to this game (regular Ticketmaster agency fees apply).