Photo Courtesy of Ben Dartnell
Liam Hughes stopped all 28 shots he faced for his first career WHL shutout on Friday night, as the Winnipeg ICE earned an important two points with a 4-0 win at Westoba Place.
Brandon's offense dried up when they needed it most as they couldn't find the back of the net behind Hughes, despite several breakaways and a number of quality scoring chances.
Peyton Krebs did the heavy lifting for the ICE, scoring once and adding two assists for a three-point evening, while Isaac Johnson lit the lamp twice as well helping the ICE to their 20th win of the season.
"We deviated from the game plan tonight," said forward Connor Gutenberg. "We started the game really well but it got away from us. Christmas may contribute to the rust tonight...but it's the same for both teams, this was unacceptable for us."
At the other end, Jiri Patera kept the Wheat Kings in it for a long as he could, turning aside 33 shots in the losing effort.
Patera's teammates could not offer their Czech netminder any run support.
"It's frustrating when the puck won't go in. The biggest thing is just trying to stay with it and in it on the bench. We had some great chances that didn't go in for us tonight, it's just the way the game went."
With the win, the ICE move to 41 points, three back of the Division-leading Prince Albert Raiders. Meanwhile, the Saskatoon Blades picked up a win on Friday night moving them back into sole possession of 3rd place in the Division, two-points up on the Wheat Kings.
Brandon and Winnipeg will meet again on Saturday night for the 8th of ten meetings in the season series.
"These games get pretty chippy at times," added Gutenberg. "It only helps the rivalry that we are so close in the standings. Every game with them is huge."
Game time Saturday night is 7:30. (7:00 broadcast on QCountry Radio)
WPG - Connor McLennon (16) (Krebs) 9:44
Shots: 11-10 Brandon
Shots: 14-6 Winnipeg
WPG - Peyton Krebs (3) (Orczek, Pedersen) 1:22
WPG - Isaac Johnson (10) (Muir, Leppard) 13:09
WPG - Isaac Johnson (11) (Krebs, Lambos) 18:11
Final Shots: 37-28 Winnipeg