Brandon, MB. (ISN) –
– The Brandon Wheat Kings kicked off a 2-game weekend series against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders Friday night with a 6-1 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

The win, coupled with a 6-4 Lethbridge victory over Regina, moved the Wheat Kings to within a single point of the seventh place Pats in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference.

Winners of three straight games and six of their last seven, the Wheat Kings scored three first period goals Friday night and never looked back.

The line of Mark Stone, Brenden Walker and Michael Ferland combined for 11 points as the Wheat Kings improved their record to 31-26-1-2. Stone finished the game with a goal and five points, giving him a league leading 99 on the season. Walker had a goal and two assists while Ferland chipped in with a pair of goals and three points.

Stone has moved to within a point of becoming the first Wheat King to record back to back 100-point seasons since Peter Schaefer in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

“We talked about getting off to a good start. It was important for our momentum and our mental state of mind,” Brandon coach Cory Clouston told Bruce Luebke on CKLQ’s post-game show. “We’ve played a lot of hockey, and it’s a lot easier to play with a lead than getting behind.”

Defenceman Ryan Pulock and rookie Bruno Mraz’s first career WHL goal rounded out the scoring for the Wheat Kings, who play host to the Raiders in game two of the weekend series on Saturday night.

Antoine Corbin scored in a losing cause for the Wheat Kings, spoiling Wheat Kings’ Brandon Anderson’s shutout bid with just over four minutes remaining in the third period.

Friday’s game was the first of a 6-game WHL homestand for the Wheat Kings, who will play nine of their remaining 12 games at Westman Place.

Tickets to Saturday’s game go back on sale first thing Saturday morning at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at ticketmaster.ca. Saturday is another Brandon Source for Sports – Subway Family Night. See Source for Sports for details on the $48 Wheat Kings’ Family Package.

Saturday’s game will also feature a special pre-game ceremony as the Wheat Kings, in association with Atom Jet Group, will honour the Manitoba Men’s Curling Championship rink, skipped by Brandon’s Rob Fowler.