The Brandon Wheat Kings made a statement on Friday night, defeating the Central Division-leading Edmonton Oil Kings 5-2 at Westoba Place.
Connor Gutenberg (2G-1A) and Braden Schnieder (3A) each had three-point nights while Jiri Patera turned aside 30 Oil King shots, including several in highlight-reel fashion as Brandon picked up another two points in the East Division playoff race.
"I loved our effort tonight," said Head Coach Dave Lowry. "The last time we played these guys, they embarrassed us in their building and we took it personally. We played like it was a playoff game. We knew we were going to have to make amends and we were going to need everyone to play a certain way. We got on top of them, we finished checks, we got pressure and we got a couple early goals on the powerplay."
Brandon jumped out to a 2-0 lead on powerplay goals just a minute apart, midway through the first period. The Wheat Kings would finish the night 3 for 6 on the man advantage.
Without Ty Thorpe, Nolan Ritchie, and Marcus Kallionkieli, Lowry elected to go with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen for the second straight game, something he says is not an issue if everyone is pulling the rope.
"We've talked about it since day one, if we're going to be successful we have to play four lines and we need everyone going. We need our young guys to eat minutes, play a certain way and be responsible. With eleven forwards tonight, it was taxing on our guys, but we did a great job doing the little things and getting the job done."
Luka Burzan, Vinny Iorio and Ben McCartney chipped in with goals for Brandon while Ethan McIndoe and Josh Williams did the scoring for the Oil Kings.
Brandon killed all four Edmonton powerplays, including a two-man advantage and a five-minute major penalty. The Wheat Kings have now killed fifteen straight penalties, something Braden Schnieder says is a result of everyone buying in.
"Your teammates are sacrificing their body for the win. When you see that happening it is a chain reaction. When you put your body in the way and block shots, everyone loves it and it gives the bench a boost."
The win for Brandon improves their record to 31-20-3-2 (67 points), good enough to maintain sole possession of 3rd place in the East Division.
The Prince Albert Raiders roll into town on Saturday night and Brandon will be looking for some revenge following a 4-1 loss in P.A one week ago.
Game time at Westoba Place is 7:30 (7:00 on QCountry Radio).
BWK - Luka Burzan (33) (Gutenberg, Schnieder) 10:31 PPG
BWK - Vinny Iorio (4) (Nychuk, Chiasson) 11:32
EDM - Ethan McIndoe (15) (Dowhaniuk) 13:20
BWK - Ben McCartney (22) (Schmiemann) 5:26
BWK - Connor Gutenberg (12) (McCartney, Schnieder) 19:27
Shots: 11-9 Brandon
BWK - Connor Gutenberg (13) (Greig, Schnieder) 1:17 PPG
EDM - Josh Williams (21) (Sawchuk, Souch) 16:32
Final Shots: 32-29 Edmonton