Brandon, MB. (ISN) — The Brandon Wheat Kings bid to move up in the Eastern Conference standings took a turn for the worse Wednesday night as they dropped a 3-2 Overtime Shootout decision before close to 5,400 fans at Westman Place to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.
Despite gaining a point, the Wheat Kings remain two points back of both Saskatoon and Kootenay and three behind the fifth place Pats with two weekend games remaining in the 2011-12 Western Hockey League regular season and setting up a pivotal series against Regina.
The Wheat Kings, who trailed 1-0 and 2-1 at the period breaks forced the extra time when defenceman Eric Roy fired home a centering pass with seven seconds remaining in regulation time. After a scoreless 5-minute overtime, Moose Jaw went 2 for 2 in the Shootout to win the game.
Ryan Pulock rounded out the scoring for the Wheat Kings, who were outshot 47-31, including 20-7 in the opening period. Captain Mark Stone assisted on both Brandon goals, giving the 19-year old Winnipegger 117 points including a league leading 78 assists.
Stone is currently tied with Portland’s Ty Rattie for second place in the WHL scoring race entering the final weekend of regular season play.
Cody Beach and Eric Arnold scored for the Warriors, who had already clinched the Eastern Division pennant and the second seed.
Brandon will bring the curtain down on the regular season this weekend with a home and home series with the Pats. A weekend sweep by the Wheat Kings will avoid a possible first round playoff series with the league leading Edmonton Oil Kings.
Due to the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair occupying the Keystone Centre later this month, the Wheat Kings will again be forced to hit the highway for their first two playoff home games. Playoff dates at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg will be confirmed this weekend, with tickets going on sale this Monday.
Wednesday’s game featured the annual “Pucks 4 Pets” Night at Westman Place, as fans littered the ice with tennis balls during the second intermission in support of the Brandon Humane Society. Winning the grand prize of a 2012-13 Wheat Kings’ Season Ticket was Kathy Zimmer.
Looking ahead to the weekend, Saturday’s game will be Wheat Kings’ Awards Night, so fans are encouraged to come early as the WHL club hands out its 2012 hardware before, during and after the game.
Tickets to Brandon’s regular season finale are on sale at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at ticketmaster.ca