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2018/19 Bantam AAA Brandon Wheat Kings
Wheat Kings win home opener
The Bantam AAA Wheat Kings hosted the Pembina Valley Hawks on Sunday, September 30th, in what was the first regular season game for both teams, with Brandon earning a 4-3 win.
Brandon opened the scoring just before the halfway point of the opening period, With Callum Halls scoring his first of the season on the powerplay, set up on a great passing play from Braden Keeble and Cayden Glover. Pembina Valley tied the game with 4:43 remaining in the first, off an odd play where the puck came off the glass and ended up in the back of the net off the backside of Brandon keeper Mason Lobreau. Brandon regained the lead only 7 seconds later however, after a faceoff win by Will Fawcett sprung Rylan Hossack down the left wing, and he slipped one under the Hawk netminder to give Brandon a 2-1 edge heading into the intermission.
Play was pretty quiet for the first part of the second frame, until another series of bounces led to PV knotting the game at 2, after a shot from the point made its way into the net following a series of deflections. The Hawks then took their first lead of the game with 15 seconds left in the period, when a costly turnover at the offensive blueline turned into a 2-on-1 break for Pembina and ended up in the back of the Brandon net.
The score remained 3-2 Hawks for the first 11 minutes of the 3rd period, until another powerplay opportunity for the home team resulted in the game-tying goal. Great puck movement by the Wheat Kings' top unit had the Pembina Valley penalty killers scrambling, and led to Halls finding Keeble wide open in the slot for a one-timer.
The turning point of the game came with under 4 minutes to play, as Lobreau made a series of huge saves on a mess in front of the Brandon net, keeping the game tied. On the ensuing faceoff, the Wheat Kings used the shift in momentum to start applying pressure in the offensive zone. After a scramble in the slot had Brandon throwing everything at the Hawk netminder, Calder Crossin snuck in from the point to grab a loose puck and slide it home for the 4-3 lead with 1:15 to play. With the Hawk netminder on the bench in favor of an extra attacker, the Wheat Kings held the Hawks in check the rest of the way, resulting in the victory.
Lobreau earned the win in net, turning aside 31 of 34 shots, and the team finished 2-for-6 on the powerplay while also successfully killing off all 3 penalties taken.
The team now prepares for the upcoming weekend, as they play 3 games in 3 days at the Winnipeg Showcase, starting with the Eastman Selects, at 2:00 Friday at the MTS IcePlex, followed by matchups with the Winnipeg Monarchs Saturday at 11:15, and the Parkland Rangers Sunday at 9:15.