Swift Current, SK. -- The Brandon Wheat Kings will be hoping to continue their winning ways Friday night when they kick off a 2-game Western Hockey League road trip in Swift Current against the Broncos.
After sweeping a season opening home and home series with Regina last weekend, the Wheat Kings outscored Saskatoon 9-6 on Wednesday to improve to 3-0-0 on the season.
The Broncos meanwhile are 1-0-2-0 and are coming off a disappointing overtime loss to the Regina Pats.
Led by Alessio Bertaggia and captain Ryan Pulock, who is currently leading all WHL defencemen in scoring, the Wheat Kings have had sixteen different players hit the scoresheet this season.
“It’s momentum,” Wheat Kings' left-winger Jason Swyripa told Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun on Thursday. “Whenever you’re getting goals it gives your team a little bit of life, and that’s always a good thing.”
A 3-year WHL veteran, Swyripa is one of the many players off to good starts. The 19-year old Calgary product enters Friday's game with three goals and 5 points in three games.
While Bertaggia and Pulock are tied with seven points each, former Lethbridge Hurricane Nick Buonassisi has two goals and six points in three games and veteran Jens Meilleur has five points, including three goals. The 19-year old Meilleur scored five goals in 56 games last season.
Ex-Prince Albert defenceman Tyler Yaworski meanwhile entered his fourth and final WHL season, having scored a total of five goals in 164 career games. In three games this past week, the 6'4" 205 lb Sherwood Park, Alberta product has two goals and is second on the team with a +6 ranking.
Brandon enters this weekend's road trip with 25 players on its roster - two goalkeepers, eight defenceman and 15 forwards. Of those, only two players - goaltender Curtis Honey and 16-year old center Jayce Hawryluk - have not seen regular season action.
That could change tonight as Hawryluk could make his WHL debut this weekend.
"It's been a long time, waiting for it forever," Hawryluk told CKLQ's Bruce Luebke this week. "Hopefully, this weekend is the big day. I'm excited."
Brandon's second round pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft is coming off an outstanding season in the Manitoba AAA Midget League where he scored 31 goals and 67 points in 40 games with the Parkland Rangers in Dauphin.
"This summer, I spent the summer in Brandon and trained hard with Pulock and Meilleur and looked up to them, in a way, to put myself in their shoes and know that's what I have to do to be in the Western Hockey League," Hawryluk went on to say.
Following Friday's game in Swift Current, the Wheat Kings will travel to Moose Jaw for a Saturday night game against the Warriors. Tonight's game is an 8pm CST start, with the pre-game show on 880 CKLQ scheduled to get underway at 7:30pm.
Brandon's next home game is next Friday, October 5th against Portland when the Wheat Kings will host the Winterhawks in the opening game of a 2-game weekend home stand. Red Deer will pay a visit on Saturday.
Tickets to the two Thanksgiving weekend home games will go on sale first thing Monday morning at the Keystone Centre box office. Fans can also order online at www.keystonecentre.com or by calling 726-3555.