Brandon, MB. -- The Brandon Wheat Kings will be hoping to close to within a single point of the seventh place Regina Pats Friday night when they play host to the Swift Current Broncos at Westman Communications Group Place.
Winners of back to back games on the road, the Wheat Kings enter tonight's game hoping to snap a 6-game home ice losing streak and win for the first time at Westman Place since December 28th. Thanks to Wednesday's come from behind victory over the Pats, Brandon enters the weekend with a record of 27-25-1-2. The Wheat Kings are currently four points up on Red Deer in the battle for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference.
The Broncos meanwhile will be hoping to snap a 3-game winless streak and enter the game with a record of 20-29-2-4, good for tenth place in the Eastern Conference and fifth in the division.
Friday's game will be the seventh meeting of the season between these two teams and third in Brandon. The Wheat Kings have won four of the first six and have compiled a 4-1-0-1 record against the Broncos.
Through the first six games of the season series, veterans Mark Stone and Michael Ferland have led the way offensively, averaging better than two points per game. While Stone, who will receive the Brandon Sun's prestigious H.L. (Krug) Crawford Memorial Award during a first inermission presentation, has six goals and 16 points, Ferland has 15 points including seven goals.
Leading the Broncos have been Taylor Vause and Coda Gordon with seven points each.
In goal, not much to separate between Swift Current's Austin Smith and Corbin Boes of the Wheat Kings. Boes is 2-0-1 with a 2.59 goals against average and an .913 save percentage while Smith has posted a 2.83 goals against mark and a .918 save percentage in three appearances against Brandon.
Stone's presentation will be one of two on hand tonight. Before the game, defenceman Brodie Melnychuk will be honoured for recently playing his 300th career WHL game. The 20-year old Balgonie, Saskatchewan product will be playing in his 302nd tonight, moving him into a tie with former captain Ryan Craig for sixth place on the team's all time list.
Tickets to tonight's game - which is a presentation of Assiniboine Community College - are on sale now at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at ticketmaster.ca