Brandon, MB. -- The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their season opening win streak to three games Wednesday night with a 9-6 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades at Westman Communications Group Place.
For the second straight home game, the deciding goal was scored by 19-year old veteran Jens Meilleur on a third period powerplay. In Friday's season opening 3-2 win over Regina, Meilleur's early third period goal was the difference. On Wednesday, it was a powerplay goal with 4:32 to play in regulation time that turned out to be the winner.
Alessio Bertaggia scored his second of the game three minutes later and defenceman Tyler Yaworski, with his second of the night - into an empty net - rounded out the scoring for the Wheat Kings, who will hit the road this weekend for games in Swift Current and Moose Jaw on Friday and Saturday nights.
A 20-year old Sherwood Park, Alberta native, Yaworski had five goals in his WHL career before Wednesday's effort. For Meilleur, the Elie, Manitoba product has three goals and 5 points in three games this season after finishing the 2011-12 campaign with five goals and 14 points in 56 games.
Bertaggia meanwhile is Brandon's top scoring returning forward and is off to a good start this season with three goals and seven points in three Wheat King victories.
After trading four goals in the opening period, the Wheat Kings took a 6-5 lead through forty minutes. The Blades Josh Nicholls, with his second of the night, with a third period shorthanded goal evened the score and set the stage for Brandon's 3-goal outburst in the final five minutes of play.
Former Lethbridge Hurricanes' center Nick Buonassisi, Jason Swyripa and captain Ryan Pulock rounded out the scoring for the Wheat Kings, who received a 26-save performance from veteran netminder Corbin Boes. Among his stops was a second period penalty shot against Nicholls.
Matt Revel, Nick Zajac, Martin Stransky and Winnipeg Jets' draft pick Lukas Sutter also scored for the Blades, who will host the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The netminding tandem of rookie Alex Moodie and Andrey Makarov combined to stop 23 of 32 shots.
Special teams a key in Wednesday's win. Besides connecting on three of eight powerplays, the Wheat Kings managed to kill all three of their minor penalties on the night.
With the nine goals, all 3,310 fans in attendance will have a week to exchange their game ticket at either Smittys location in Brandon for a FREE 2+2+2 Wheat Kings' breakfast. Smittys (Shoppers Mall and Trans Canada Highway) are proud sponsors of the Wheat Kings Lucky 7 promotion.
Following this weekend's road trip, the Wheat Kings will return home next weekend for games against Portland and Red Deer on Friday and Saturday nights respectively. Next Friday night is Manitoba Hydro Fridge Magnet Schedule Giveaway night with the first 2,500 fans in attendance receiving a 2012-13 Wheat Kings Fridge magnet.
Tickets to that game as well as all of Brandon's remaining regular season home games will go on sale this Monday, October 1st at the Keystone Centre box office. Fans can also order online at www.keystonecentre.com or by calling 726-3555.