(ISN) – Brandon, MB. — The Western Hockey League playoff history between Brandon and Edmonton may be short but when the two teams hit the ice later this week for the start of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, they’ll be facing off for the third time in the past four years.
The Wheat Kings, who finished on top of the WHL this past season with an impressive 53-11-4-4 record, will be hoping for a little payback against a club that has knocked them from post-season play in both 2012 and 2014.
After sweeping Regina in the opening round last spring, the Wheat Kings fell four games to one to Edmonton in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals and three years ago, the Oil Kings swept Brandon in four straight in the Conference Semis. Both series wins helped Edmonton go on to win two Ed Chynoweth Championships.
Unlike the last two playoff series between the two, however, Brandon enters this year’s post season hoping to build on a magical regular season that saw the Wheat Kings capture the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy for the first time in nineteen seasons.
While Brandon ran away from the field in the Eastern Conference this season, the defending champion Oil Kings meanwhile compiled a 34-31-4-3 record.
During the 4-game regular season series between the two, Brandon won three of four, including one of two played at Rexall Place in Edmonton.
Brandon’s Tim McGauley, who finished third in the WHL scoring race with 42 goals and 105 points, led the Wheat Kings in scoring against Edmonton with three goals and 7 points, followed by rookies Nolan Patrick and Ivan Provorov with five points each.
As for the Oil Kings, Lane Bauer and Brett Pollock finished 1-2 in scoring against Brandon with seven and five points respectively.
In goal, Brandon’s Jordan Papirny appeared in all four games, posting a 3.23 goals against average and a n .894 save percentage. Tristan Jarry meanwhile played in three of four games against the Wheat Kings, compiling a 3.70 and an .882 save percentage.
Besides the last two series, the only other time that Brandon has met Edmonton in post-season play came back in 1978-79 when the Wheat Kings, Oil Kings and Saskatoon Blades met in an 8-game round robin affair. Led by the likes of Brian Propp, Ray Allison, Laurie Boschman and Brad McCrimmon the Wheat Kings won seven of eight and cruised to their first ever WHL Title while the Oil Kings lost six of eight and were eliminated from the 3-team round robin. Edmonton was led that year by Ray Neufeld, Craig Levie and Steve Blue.
Due to the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, this best of seven opening round playoff series will be a 2-3-2 format.
Games one and two will be played Thursday and Friday nights at Westman Place, before the series shifts to the Alberta capital for three games in four nights next week. Should a sixth and seventh game be necessary, they’re scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, April 7th and 8th.