Brandon Wheat Kings
Brandon, MB. — Brandon’s Homecoming for World Junior Hockey Championship participants Mark Stone and Alessio Bertaggia was spoiled Wednesday night as the Wheat Kings kicked off a 3-game home stand with a 2-0 loss to the visiting Saskatoon Blades.
16-year old netminder Alex Moodie turned aside 37 shots to backstop the Blades over the high scoring Wheat Kings, who have now lost four of five games and were coming off Saturday night’s 11-3 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert.
The win pushed the Blades into sole possession of sixth place in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Divison – two points ahead of the Calgary Hitmen and three up on the Wheat Kings, whose record slipped to 22-18-1-1.
In making only his fifth start in six games, Moodie was sensational on Wednesday in picking up his first ever WHL shutout. The Blades are currently without starting netminder Andrey Makarov, who is on the sidelines with a concussion.
“The difference in the hockey game was Alex Moodie,” Blades head coach Lorne Molleken told the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. “For a 16-year-old goaltender to play the way he did here tonight, you know he deserves the feather in his hat.”
In addition to having Stone and Bertaggia back on the ice at Westman Place for the first time since early December, Brandon’s lineup also featured newly acquired center Kevin Sundher. The 19-year old Buffalo Sabres’ draft choice, who had a personal 12-game point scoring streak snapped, was acquired from the Victoria Royals on Monday in exchange for a first round bantam draft choice, 17-year old rookie left-winger Dakota Conroy and veteran blueliner Jordan Fransoo.
Lukas Sutter and Darren Dietz scored for the Blades, who led 1-0 and 2-0 at the period breaks.
Wednesday’s game was the first of a 3-game WHL home stand for the struggling Wheat Kings, who outshot the Blades 37-27 including 14-6 in the final period when Brandon’s shooters were turned back time and time again by the former Winnipeg AAA Midget Warrior.
Brandon will conclude this week’s home stand this weekend with games against Red Deer and Victoria on Friday and Saturday nights.
Friday’s game will feature a special pre-game ceremony, in recognition of Stone and Bertaggia’s recent contributions to Team Canada and the Swiss U20 National Team at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Alberta.
Tickets to this weekend’s game go back on sale first thing Thursday morning at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at ticketmaster.ca