From December 30 until January 24, the Brandon Wheat Kings didn’t lose a game whether it be in regulation or extra time. They won 10 straight games and certainly showed the league what they were really made of.
On January 25, the Wheat Kings challenged the Lethbridge Hurricanes and it looked like they would extend the streak to 11 as they led the game 3-0 and 4-1. However, the ‘Canes had other plans as they stormed back to win 6-5 in overtime.
Although the win streak was snapped, the team’s point streak was extended to 11 games. That streak, however, did come to an end on January 28 when the team lost 6-2 in Edmonton. It was a loss that started a two-game skid for the team as it lost to Red Deer the next night.
Brandon rebounded, ending its four-game Alberta trip with two straight wins against Calgary and Medicine Hat.
That took them through February 1. Luka Burzan offered up some good thoughts on the club.
“Yeah, from the beginning of the year until now, our team has got a lot better,” said Burzan. “That 10-game winning streak was a lot of fun and big for us. I believe we can make some noise down the stretch here moving into the playoffs.”
The Wheat Kings were trying to make it consecutive wins against Medicine Hat when they played them this past weekend inside of Westoba Place. Through 55 minutes, it looked like Brandon would do just that, but Medicine Hat had something else to say.
The Tigers scored two goals in the final five minutes of the third period to tie the game and send it into overtime. Just 18 seconds into the extra frame, Brett Kemp scored his 24th goal of the season to win it.
Despite the loss, the point Brandon did secure, allowed the team to stay in third place in the East Division. With a record of 27-19-3-2, Brandon is four points back of Winnipeg for the second spot and six back of Prince Albert for the top spot.
“We played a good game for most of it, but a couple of mistakes cost us at the end,” continued Burzan. “When you play a good team like that, they can make you pay if you take a couple of minutes off. We just have to consistently play a full 60 minutes and we’ll be good.”
Burzan is continuing to do whatever everyone expects him to do and that’s score. He has 30 goals and 23 assists for a 53 point total, one more than Ben McCartney who is second in Wheat Kings scoring. Burzan also leads the team with eight power-play goals.
“Yeah, I’ve been having a good season. Dave Lowry has been teaching me how to play a complete game,” continued Burzan. “I also play with some great teammates that help me out a ton.”
Brandon is back on the ice preparing for what will be an important week for the team. They play the Saskatoon Blades in a home-and-home and finish the week against Prince Albert.
Right now, Brandon is tied with Saskatoon at 59 points with Brandon owning the tiebreaker. As mentioned before, the Wheat Kings trail Prince Albert by six points for the top spot in the East Division.
Wednesday’s game will be played in Saskatoon before the two teams’ rematch on Friday in Brandon. On Saturday, Brandon is in Prince Albert.
“This is a massive week for us. We’re looking at this week as a must-win for us. We need to win all three games,” said Burzan. “If we can get some points, that will definitely help us moving down the line when it comes to staying ahead of Saskatoon and getting closer to Prince Albert.”
A definite bright spot for Brandon all year has been its penalty kill. The team has only allowed 32 power-play goals against this year and has taken 206 penalties. The 84.5% penalty kill percentage is the fourth-best in the league.
On the power play, Brandon is 14th in the league at 19.3%.