Wheat Kings Open WHL Playoffs With Win

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Calgary, AB. (ISN)
— The Brandon Wheat Kings have drawn first blood in their Western Hockey League Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Calgary Hitmen.

Darian Dziurzynski scored twice and Corbin Boes made 34 saves as the Wheat Kings defeated the Hitmen 6-2 Thursday night in the opening game of their best of seven opening round playoff series.

Mark Stone’s goal with just under four minutes remaining in the second period snapped a 2-2 tie and the Wheat Kings, who finished eight points behind Calgary during the regular season, never looked back.

Michael Ferland, Alessio Bertaggia and Calgary product Jason Swyripa rounded out the scoring for the Wheat Kings, who opened up post-season play with a victory for the fourth straight year.

“We had four full lines tonight, and it’s been a while since we’re had that. I thought everybody got to play a fair bit and that’s what you need at this time of year,” Brandon assistant coach Darren Ritchie told Bruce Luebke on CKLQ’s post-game show Thursday night. “It’s not going to be the Mark Stone’s or Michael Ferland’s that are going to lead us all the time. We need the Dziurzynski’s and Bertaggia’s that are going to chip in for us and we were lucky enough to get that tonight.”

In picking up the win, Boes has now allowed two or fewer goals in eleven of his last thirteen starts.

The 18-year old Saskatoon product entered post-season play on a high note, finishing the regular season with a 12-4-1 record with a 2.45 goals against average and a .930 saver pct. in his last eighteen appearances.

Former Victoria Royal center Kevin Sundher returned to the Brandon lineup Thursday and although he wasn’t one of the eleven Wheat Kings to hit the scoresheet, he did finish the game with a +2 ranking.

Alex Gogolev and Winnipeg product Brooks Macek replied for the Hitmen, while Chris Driedger stopped 26 shots in the Calgary net in front of over 8,000 disappointed fans.

Game two of the series goes Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Due to the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, Brandon’s home games in round one will be played at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg for the second straight year. Games three, four and five will be played Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7pm.

Tickets to the playoff games in Winnipeg are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations. Fans can also call Toll Free 1-855-985-5000. For those western Manitoba hockey fans hoping to catch the bus to Winnipeg, they can call Brandon Bus Lines at 571-0231 for more information.

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