Brandon, MB. – The Brandon Wheat Kings closed out a 5-game Western Hockey League home stand Friday night by beating the visiting Regina Pats 2-1 in front of over 4,000 fans at Westman Communications Group Place.
After trading goals in the opening period, 16-year old rookie Stelio Mattheos rifled home what turned out to be the game winner at the 5:24 mark of the second period.
Jayce Hawryluk also scored for the Wheat Kings, who dominated the game from start to finish, outshooting the Pats 53-16. Regina netminder Tyler Brown was simply outstanding, finishing the night with 51 saves – including eighteen in the third period when Brandon threatened to run away with it.
Former Wheat King Taylor Cooper scored in a losing cause for the Pats.
With the win, Brandon improved to 14-7-0-2 on the season and moved into a second place tie with Red Deer in the Eastern Conference and to within a single point of the front running Prince Albert Raiders.
Friday’s game marked the return of all star center Tim McGauley to the Brandon lineup.
The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Year, McGauley has missed the past two months of action after suffering an upper body injury during the hockey club’s Home Opener in September.
While he didn’t hit the scoresheet, the 20-year old Washington Capitals’ prospect did create a number of chances during the game and was named the game’s Manitoba Blue Cross 1st star of the game.
Another star on this night had to be center Nolan Patrick.
When he heard that the club was hosting a special Chuck-a-Puck during the second intermission in an effort to help former AAA Midget Wheat King Braden Pettinger on his road to recovery, the 17-year old Winnipeg native approached the club Friday morning and donated his game worn jersey from this month’s Canada-Russia Series.
A 20-year old native of Elgin, Pettinger fractured a vertebrae during a Manitoba Junior Hockey League game in Winnipeg last week.
Between the Chuck-a-Puck and jersey, western Manitoba hockey fans wound up donating close to $9,000, including $5,500 from Kevin Martin of Branstone Financial Strategies of Brandon for Patrick’s autographed number 19.
As a result of Friday’s donation, over $100,000 has been raised for the injured defenceman.
The Wheat Kings won’t play again until next Friday when they kick off a 3-game road trip in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes. In the meantime, ten members of the hockey club will be trading in their sticks and skates for dinner plates and wine glasses on Tuesday night as the hockey club hosts its annual Tip-a-Wheat King Night, in support of men’s health and the annual Movember campaign.