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12/29/2006: Brandon @ Red Deer Rebels @ Brandon 19:30

GAME NOTES: The WHEAT KINGS open up the final weekend of 2006 on Friday night in RED DEER against the REBELS...BRANDON brought the curtain up on the second half of the 2006-07 campaign Wednesday night with a disappointing 3-2 Overtime Shootout loss to the visiting SASKATOON BLADES...The loss, coupled with PRINCE ALBERT'S 4-3 win over REGINA moved the surprising RAIDERS to within five points of the Eastern Division leading WHEAT KINGS, who have now lost back to back Overtime Shootouts...PRINCE ALBERT also has two games in hand...SWIFT CURRENT is tied with the RAIDERS entering Friday's game between the two t eams...BRANDON sits atop the division with a record of 18-13-2-5, good for 43 points...BRANDON is 12-3-1-3 on home ice...6-10-1-2 on the road...WHEAT KINGS have lost five straight games away from home (0-3-1-1) and haven't won on the road since defeating the BLADES 2-1 in SASKATOON on November 24th...BRANDON is 2-3-2-3 in its last ten games...WHEAT KINGS play the HITMEN at the Pengrowth Saddledome in CALGARY on Saturday before closing out this 3-game in four night road trip in REGINA on New Years Day against the PATS...Despite winning just one of their last nine games (1-3-2-3), the WHEAT KINGS have points in six of their last seven games (1-1-2-3)...Their only victory during that stretch was a 3-1 victory over the visiting REGINA PATS on December 15th...BRANDON runs the risk of suffering their first losing month of the 2006-07 campaign. Heading into Friday night's game, the WHEAT KINGS are 2-3-2-3 during the month of December...BRANDON is currently 5-5-0 against Central Division clubs this season...WHEAT KINGS return home to meet SASKATOON on January 5th at the Keystone Centre.

WHEATIES REPRESENTED AT WJHC: Two members of the WHEAT KINGS - center CODEY BURKI and defenceman DUSTIN KOHN were among the final cuts from the National Junior Selection Camp in Calgary two weeks ago...19-year old VANCOUVER CANUCKS' draft choice JURAJ SIMEK, however, is at the world junior championship for the second straight season, as a member of TEAM SWITZERLAND...He becomes the first WHEAT KING to play at the WJHC since JORDIN TOOTOO in 2003.

LAST GAME: BRANDON battled back from a 2-0 first period deficit, managed to outshoot the visiting BLADES 4-0 in Overtime, only to drop a 3-2 Overtime Shootout decision to SASKATOON on Wednesday night...ANDREW CLARK, with a second period powerplay goal and DANIEL BARTEK, with a third period shorthanded tally scored for the WHEAT KINGS who saw their overtime record slip to 1-2-5, 21st in the WHL...SASKATOON'S RASTISLAV KONECNY was the only Overtime shooter to find the net...The win by the BLADES was their first against BRANDON this season (1-3-0) and extended their season high win streak to four games...The WHEAT KINGS, who outshot the BLADES 32-25, were 1-6 with the man advantage while killing off five of six SASKATOON powerplays.

VS. RED DEER: This is the fourth meeting of the season between these two teams and the second in RED DEER...BRANDON is 2-1-0 vs. RED DEER this season after posting a 2-2-0 record in 2005-06...JURAJ SIMEK (3-1-4), CODEY BURKI (1-3-4) and DUSTIN KOHN (1-3-4) lead BRANDON in scoring while netminder TYLER PLANTE is 2-1-0 with a 2.40 goals against average and a .926 save percentage in three appearances...Last season, BURKI led BRANDON in scoring with four goals and 8 points in the 4-game season series.

MILESTONES: Netminder TYLER PLANTE has become one of only four BRANDON goalkeepers to eclipse the 8,000 minute mark during their WHL career. PLANTE has played 140 WHL games (7 shy of ROBERT MCVICAR and third place on the club's all time list) and 8,086 minutes (441 minutes short of McVICAR and third place). PLANTE'S career goals against average of 2.94 is second all time (McVICAR'S career average was 2.86)...Captain TEEGAN MOORE has moved to within 5 games of 300. He's also 3 points short of 100...DUSTIN KOHN is 7 assists from 100...MARK LOUIS played his 200th career game on Dec. 16th in REGINA while Vegreville's JEFF TOPILKO is set to play in his 250th career game Friday night in RED DEER...CODE Y BURKI is 4 assists shy of 150 in his 4-year WHL career.

DID YOU KNOW? CODEY BURKI is currently 3 points behind RED DEER'S MARTIN HANZAL for the WHL scoring lead with 21 goals and 51 points...BRANDON'S powerplay (22.1%) is now tied for second in the league with MEDICINE HAT...Penalty killing, the WHEAT KINGS are 16th...Defenceman DUSTIN KOHN leads the club with a +16 ranking...JEFF TOPILKO is 6-6-12 in his last 12 games...BRANDON has lost 47 man games to injury...JURAJ SIMEK leads the team with 4 game winning goals...ESPN's BARRY MELROSE, a former WINNIPEG JET and coach of the L.A. KINGS headlines the list of head table speakers for the 2007 WHEAT KINGS' SPORTSMAN'S DINNER, scheduled for February 3rd in the Keystone Centre...BRANDON had a record o f 12-21-4-1 after 38 games last season and the WHEATS were 22-14-1-1 through the first 38 in 2004-05.
 
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