Brandon Wheat Kings

Brandon, MB. — The Brandon Wheat Kings brought the curtain up on the second half of the 2011-12 Western Hockey League regular season Wednesday night with a 3-2 overtime victory over the visiting Regina Pats.

Ryley Miller’s goal 1:23 into extra time gave Brandon the win, improving the Wheat Kings overall record to 21-1-4-1-1 on the season and moving them two points up on the Pats in the battle for second place in the WHL’s Eastern Division.

The Wheat Kings, who play host to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday night, jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on a pair of powerplay goals by veteran Brenden Walker. But Regina’s Lane Scheidl – with the first of two goals on the night – in the final minute of opening period cut the Brandon lead in half.

Following a scoreless second period, Regina evened the score at two on Scheidl’s second of the night, with just over four minutes remaining in the third and setting the stage for overtime.

Wednesday night’s goal was Miller’s third of the season, his second career game winner and his first ever in OT. For Walker, the Ste. Anne product now has points in five of his last 6 games.

Brandon was playing its fourth straight game without captain Mark Stone, who was helping Team Canada blank the Czech Republic 5-0 at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton.

The Wheat Kings were also minus 18-year old left-winger Alessio Bertaggia and rookie blueliner Ayrton Nikkel. While Bertaggia is playing for Switzerland at the WJHC, Nikkel is a member of Team Pacific at the World U17 Hockey Challenge that begins Thursday in Windsor, Ontario.

Brandon had two new faces in the lineup on Wednesday. Former Saskatoon Blades’ first round bantam draft choice Tim McGauley was called up for the week from the Notre Dame AAA Midget Hounds while 17-year old netminder Curtis Honey has joined the club for the balance of the season after playing the first half of the 2011-12 campaign in Bonnyville of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Honey will serve as Brandon Anderson’s back-up after Corbin Boes suffered a broken bone in his hand earlier this month in Edmonton. In making his fifth straight start, Anderson turned aside 26 shots and improving his record to 3-2-0, his goals against average to 2.98 and his save percentage to .921 during that span.

The Wheat Kings, who outshot the Pats 31-28, finished the game 2-4 on the powerplay while killing off three penalties. While Brandon’s powerplay has been one of the top units in the WHL this season, it had entered Wednesday’s game having gone 2 for 19 in the last six games.

Friday’s game is Family Skate Night at Westman Communications Group Place, presented by The Home Depot, 880 CKLQ and 94.7 Star FM. Fans attending the game are encouraged to bring their skates and cameras and join their favorite players on the ice after the game.

Tickets to Friday’s game are on sale at the Keystone