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The Brandon Wheat Kings kicked off the 2009-10 Western Hockey League season Friday night with a 6-1 loss to the hometown Prince Albert Raiders.

Using a well balanced attack, the Raiders outshot the Wheat Kings 39-23 and got goals from six different players including Ryan Harrison and Nathan Deck, who also added assists. Singles came off the sticks of Dustin Cameron, Justin Maylan, Brandon Herrod and Jordan Hickmott.

Brodie Melnychuk, with a first period powerplay goal, replied for the Wheat Kings, who trailed 3-1 and 4-1 at the period breaks.

The Wheat Kings, who close out the opening weekend of regular season play Saturday night in Regina, played the game with seven rookies including five players - Jordan DePape, Brenden Walker, Brendan Rouse, Dallas Erhardt and Michael Ferland - that were making their WHL regular season debuts.

An Eastern Conference Championship Finalist in 2008-09, Brandon is opening the season this weekend with six players still away at National Hockey League Training Camps including first round draft picks Brayden Schenn (Los Angeles) and Scott Glennie (Dallas). The others are Alexander Urbom (New Jersey), Matt Calvert (Columbus), Colby Robak (Florida) and Finnish right-winger Toni Rajala, who continues to recover from an off-season knee injury in Edmonton.

Following Saturday's game, the Wheat Kings will return home to face the Swift Current Broncos on Friday night in their 2009 Home Opener. Tickets to the game are on sale at the Keystone Centre box office (Pioneer Lounge), online at ticketmaster.ca or by calling 726-3555.
 
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