Wheat Kings keyed up about first real home game

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

When facing elimination, you squeeze the stick tighter, you sweat a little more, and the butterflies in your stomach are a little bit bigger and a lot more jumpy.

Not for the Brandon Wheat Kings, however.

They proved last year they can get the job done when it's win-or-go-home time, emerging victorious from four games in which they faced elimination.

The Wheat Kings must do it again tonight against the Moose Jaw Warriors when Game 6 of their WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final series is played at Keystone Centre. Game time is 7 o'clock.

The Warriors took a 3-2 series lead on Sunday night with a 1-0 win in Moose Jaw, but the Wheat Kings are pumped about playing their first real "home" game of the series tonight. Brandon had to play Games 3 and 4 at Winnipeg's MTS Centre last week because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair had invaded Keystone Centre.

"This is our only opportunity for a home game, and the timing for that obviously couldn't be better," McCrimmon said yesterday from the Wheat City.

The Wheat Kings trailed the Calgary Hitmen 3-1 in a conference semifinal last year but won three straight. Then they won Game 7 against the Prince Albert Raiders in the conference final.

Much of the offensive firepower from last year's squad graduated from the junior ranks, but McCrimmon still feels his forwards were better on Sunday -- even though they failed to beat Warriors netminder Joey Perricone.

"We were better offensively in Game 5 than we were in Games 3 and 4," said McCrimmon. "... The guys are confident. It's a situation we've been in many times."


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