Wheaties dig deep

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:10 PM ET

Manitobans love underdogs and the Brandon Wheat Kings could author a Cinderella story of their own in the first round of the WHL playoffs that come to town Monday night.

Written off as also-rans when they traded away star forward Brayden Schenn, the Wheaties already surprised many by qualifying for the playoffs.

Trouble is, they were poised to face a team, Medicine Hat, that finished 27 points ahead of them. The Tigers also boast the WHL’s leading scorer, Linden Vey, and the league’s third-ranked netminder, Tyler Bunz. Plus, the Wheat Kings have been forced out of their own barn and will play games 3 (Monday at 7:30 p.m.) and 4 (Thursday) at MTS Centre.

Yet, the Wheaties still managed to knock off the giants 7-2 in the opening match of this best-of-seven playoff series in Medicine Hat on Friday.

And, but for the heroics of goaltender Devan Dubyk, they could have taken a 2-0 series lead in Alberta on Saturday.

Dubyk, who replaced an ailing Bunz, blocked 38 of 40 shots as the Tigers pulled out a 5-2 victory over the visitors to even the series at 1-1.

“I thought we played well, and Dubyk was the difference,” Brandon coach/GM Kelly McCrimmon told CKLQ Radio’s post-game show. “We had 40 shots on the road, we had a lot of scoring chances, we didn’t give up a lot ...

“We talk sometimes about timely goals of late that we’ve been scoring that have worked to our advantage. I thought we needed a goal at the right time.”

But they didn’t get it this time. Veteran Scott Glennie scored both Brandon goals.

Sebastian Owuya, Dylan Bredo, Boston Leier, Cole Grbavac and Vey (empty net) scored for Medicine Hat.

Brandon has won nine of the last 11 games it has played at MTS Centre. About 2,000 tickets had been sold as of Sunday morning. Ducats are available at both the MTS and Keystone Centre box offices, as well as Ticketmaster.

ROUGH DEBUT: FC Edmonton whitewashed the Winnipeg WCA 5-0 in an exhibition match held at the Winnipeg Indoor Soccer Complex on Sunday afternoon.

The Winnipeg side had only trained for a week and it showed against the more well-established Edmonton team. Edmonton outshot Winnipeg 8-2.

Conrad Smith, Chris Lemure, Alex Supermant, Alex Sementes (penalty kick) and John Johke scored the goals.

During the last 30 minutes, the WSA subbed in 11 players as Winnipeg tunes up for its inaugural season in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League. Those games will be played outdoors.

MIXED PLAYOFFS: Hamiota’s defending champion Terry McNamee and former Canadian Mixed champ Sean Grassie of Deer Lodge finished first in their respective pools with 7-0 records at the Manitoba Mixed Championship in Swan River.

McNamee was playing Grassie in the Page playoff 1 vs. 1 game on Sunday night. The winner advances to Monday’s 1:30 p.m. final. The loser drops into Monday’s 9:30 a.m. semifinal versus the loser of the 2-2 game.

Corey Chambers of Deer Lodge finished second in his pool with a 5-2 record and was playing the winner of a tie-breaker between Granite’s Bob Sigurdson and Miami’s Tyler Drews in the 2-2 contest.

SPEIRS WELL BACK: Winnipeg’s Adam Speirs shot an even-par 72 to finish tied for 30th at 10-under 278 at the Canadian Tour’s stop in Bogota, Colombia on Sunday. It was the only round that he did not shoot under par.

JUNIOR PLAYOFFS: The Portage Terriers were hoping to take advantage of home ice to take a 3-2 series lead in their best-of-seven MJHL’s Sher-Wood Division final against Dauphin on Sunday night.

In the MMJHL, the Charleswood Hawks were hoping to extend their playoff unbeaten streak to eight games as they were hosting the Raiders Jr. in Game 3 of their best-of-seven semifinal.

The Pembina Valley Twisters were also hoping to extend their lead to 3-0 when they faced the Fort Garry/Fort Rouge Twins.


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