Brandon Wheat Kings

Saskatoon, SK. — The Brandon Wheat Kings kicked off 2012 the same way they closed out 2011 – with a loss.

Matej Stransky scored his first ever Western Hockey League hat trick and added an assist as the hometown Saskatoon Blades handed the struggling Wheat Kings an 8-2 setback on New Years Day.

With the loss, the Wheat Kings slipped from a share of second place to fourth in the WHL’s Eastern Division with a record of 21-16-1-1. Not only did the Blades vault past Brandon but so did the Regina Pats, who scored an impressive 5-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings.

Brandon has now lost two of three games since Christmas, and five of their last eight and are now 6-10-0-0 in their last sixteen games.

“I think we’ll have their attention now. I think whatever we start talking about, I think we’ll have their attention,” Brandon assistant coach Darren Ritchie told Bruce Luebke on CKLQ’s post-game show. “It’s something that has to be addressed and we have a week here to things turned around, and we will.”

Dalton Thrower added a goal and three assists for the Blades, who opened up the weekend by scoring a 9-4 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night. Brandon meanwhile dropped a 7-1 decision to the visiting Oil Kings on Friday night.

Rookie Daniel Asham scored his first goal since October 1st and Dominick Favreau added his fifth of the season for the Wheat Kings, who don’t play again until next weekend when they look to bounce back with a 2-game series in Prince Albert against the Raiders.