Regina, SK. (ISN) – Michael Ferland scored both goals and captain Mark Stone set up both goals as the Wheat Kings edged the Pats 2-1 to move to within a single point of both Regina and Kootenay in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference.
Brandon will be looking for a sweep of the weekend season ending home and home series Saturday night when both teams bring the curtain down on their 2011-12 regular season in Brandon.
Ferland’s two goals give him 47 on the season and 22 in his last 21 games, while his eleven game winning goals tie him for the Western League lead with Emerson Etem of the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Netminder Corbin Boes meanwhile was excellent between the pipes, turning aside 24 shots and picking up the victory and improving his goals against average to 2.86, his save percentage to .916 and his overall record to 22-10-2.
“He’s definitely made them (saves) look like he’s just at practice and there’s no pressure on him,” Wheat Kings’ assistant coach Darren Ritchie told CKLQ’s Bruce Luebke after the game. “He’s been really focused the last couple of games for us and he’s getting himself prepared for the playoffs.”
With the win, Brandon improves to 38-28-1-4 on the season and has a chance to move as high as sixth place in the Conference with a victory in Saturday night’s regular season finale. Because they can’t finish any higher than sixth place, the Wheat Kings can scratch off the Medicine Hat Tigers from their list of possible first round playoff opponents.
The Wheat Kings could still wind up playing the Edmonton Oil Kings, Moose Jaw Warriors and Calgary Hitmen in the best of seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals and due to the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, Brandon will again be playing at least its first two post-season home games at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. Tickets to both games will go on sale Monday morning at all Ticketmaster locations.
Saturday’s game will feature the Wheat Kings annual Awards Show, with trophy presentations scheduled for before, during and immediately following the game. The hockey club will also present its annual Highlight video during the post-game festivities. Among the awards to be handed out will be the MNP Rookie of the Year, the Manitoba Hydro Turk Broda Top Manitoba Born Player, the Meighen Haddad & Co. Most Valuable Player as well as the newly named Brad McCrimmon Top Defenceman of the Year Trophy.
The trophy, which had been known as the Wheat Kings’ Executive up until this year, has been renamed in honour of the former Brandon blueliner and 18-year National Hockey League veteran, who was lost in a tragic plane crash in Russia last September. A Stanley Cup Champion with the 1989 Calgary Flames, the former WHL 1st Team All Star was named the Wheat Kings’ Top Defenceman in 1976-77, 1978 and 1979.
Tickets to Saturday night’s game go back on sale first thing this morning at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at ticketmaster.ca