Stone brothers face off

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:36 PM ET

BRANDON, Man. -- The Stone brothers have been a regular topic of conversation during the Memorial Cup and the latest chapter of their story is going to be written Friday.

That's when the host Brandon Wheat Kings and Western Hockey League champion Calgary Hitmen square off in the tournament semifinal at Westman Place (6 p.m. MT, Sportsnet).

The stakes are as high as they get, as the winner moves on to face the defending Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires in Sunday's final and the loser goes home.

Handshakes are customary in playoff hockey, but when Winnipeggers Mark and Michael Stone meet in the line, you can expect a bear hug to be involved, as well.

When the Hitmen ousted the Wheat Kings in the fifth game of the WHL's Eastern Conference final, the Stone brothers shared an emotional embrace off the ice after the teams went their separate ways.

The finality of the situation isn't lost on either brother.

"It's going to see heartbreaking for me to see him lose or it will be heartbreaking for him to see me lose," said Michael, a defenceman with the Hitmen. "It's going to be mixed emotions for sure."

Mark simply wants to see his luck change since big brother has bounced him from the playoffs the past two springs in the conference final and a third elimination loss to the Hitmen would be tough to take.

"We've shook hands with these guys the last two years and we haven't been on the right end of it," said Mark, a big winger with the Wheat Kings. "We have another chance on Friday night and we're trying to take full advantage of it.

"Right now, it's more frustrating losing to Calgary, not just (Mike). We don't want to be losing to these guys and having them end our season. If we can end their season, that's what we want to do."

The brother act has been one of the more interesting storylines to follow during the week and with one final head-to-head meeting to go, it's only going to end well for one of them.

"It's nice to be asked the questions and kind of be in the spotlight together," said Michael. "But one of us has to lose and one of us has to move on."


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