Photo by Keith Hershmiller
For the 14th time in franchise history, the Brandon Wheat Kings will hang an East Division Championship banner from the rafters of the Keystone Centre.
The Wheat Kings clinched the first ever Subway Cup with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Regina Pats on Sunday night. The win gives them 38 points, a total no other team will be able to reach this season.
Although there may be an asterisk next to the Division Title in the history books, full credit has to be given to a hockey club that moved into a university dorm room and played 24 games in 61 days.
"Once we got through that first segment of games, we understood we had a chance to win this," said Head Coach Don MacGillivray. "I'm real proud of the group and the way they've worked. When you play cards with your wife or your kids, you play to win. We came here to win these games and that's what we did."
Lynden McCallum broke a 1-1 tie late in the second period with a powerplay marker, and would add three more in the next 2:58 seconds to record his first career WHL hat-trick and his first career four-point game. McCallum's outburst was just 0:23 seconds off the mark for fastest four goals by a player in WHL history.
Boyd Anderson scored four times in 2:35 on October 7th, 1972 as his Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Flin Flon Bombers.
"When you're on the ice with as good of players as we have, that's the stuff that can happen," said Lynden McCallum with a smile. "The guys were making plays tonight."
Braden Schneider and Ben McCartney would each pick up four assists as well as the Wheat Kings finished the night 4/5 on the man advantage and added their league leading 7th short-handed marker off the stick of Ridly Greig.
Brandon's win gives them a record of 18-3-2-0, with one game remaining.
"Winning is what we came here to do," added McCallum. "Right from training camp we said we wanted to be the best team here. Whatever they let us play for we wanted to win it."
The WHL has said the inagural Subway Cup trophy presentation will take place following Brandon's game on Wednesday afternoon.
After two months of non-stop hockey, the Wheat Kings can finally breath a sigh of relief that they acheived what they set out to do in this unprecedented season.
"Everyone is fired up," added McCallum. "Everyone contributed in so many different ways. Im real proud of the way we stuck with it throughout this whole process. It was such a unique experience and to win this is something that we will remember forever."
Wednesday's game vs Saskatoon is a 5:00 start. The final Heritage Co-op Wheat Kings broadcast of the season begins at 4:30.