(ISN) – Brandon, MB. — This year’s Western Hockey League Eastern Conference finalists are certainly no strangers to one another when it comes to the playoffs.
For the second time in three years and the third in five, the Brandon Wheat Kings will be facing the Calgary Hitmen. This year’s series will be for the right to advance to the WHL’s ROGERS Championship Final.
This year also marks the third time that Brandon has met Calgary in the Conference Final.
The last time was in 2010 when the Hitmen beat Brandon on their way to capturing the Championship Title and earning the right to play at the MasterCard Memorial Cup. Ironically, the Wheat Kings beat Calgary in the Sudden Death Semi-Final before losing to the Windsor Spitfires in the Final.
Brandon has won one of three Conference Finals against the Hitmen, losing in 2009 but winning back in 1998 en route to a League Championship date with Portland.
In two Conference semi-final series played between the two teams, Brandon rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat Calgary in the 2005 Semi-Finals four games to three and in 2007, it was the Hitmen winning in six games.
In the only other playoff series against one another – Paul Ciarelli scored the overtime winner in game five at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg as the Wheat Kings upset the Hitmen in their best of seven opening round series four games to one in 2012.
Overall, the Hitmen have won seventeen of 31 playoff games against Brandon since joining the WHL in 1995.
Prior to their arrival, the only series featuring Brandon and Calgary was in 1980 when the Wheat Kings, led by the likes of Steve Patrick, Don Dietrich and Kelly McCrimmon, upset the old Wranglers in the seventh and deciding game.
This year’s Eastern Conference Final gets underway this weekend with games one and two at Westman Place on Friday and Saturday, April 24th and 25th. The series will then shift to the Saddledome for games three and four on April 28th and 29th. The balance of the series schedule will be finalized this week.
During the 4-game regular season series, the Wheat Kings won three games including both played in Brandon.