The Brandon Wheat Kings earned a gutsy 1-0 shutout victory over the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night in front of over 3300+ fans at Westoba Place to move above .500 for the first time this season.
Chad Nychuk scored the only goal for Brandon while Jiri Patera stole the show, making 29 saves for his 2nd blank sheet of the season and third of his career.
"We got contributions from everybody tonight," said Head Coach Dave Lowry. "I liked our team game, the shot blocks, sacrificing the body and all the other little details you need to have to win a hockey game. At the end of the night, we were rewarded with a victory."
For the first time all season, the Wheat Kings were able to win their third consecutive game. Until tonight, Brandon had won back to back games on two separate occasions, but could never find a victory in the third game.
The effort on Friday night is another positive sign for the Wheat Kings after an impressive month of December in which they went 5-2-0-2.
"We're still trying to create an identity and were starting to become who we are," added Lowry. "We want to be a hard team to play against. We knew tonight, that this was going to be a heavy game and we needed to be sure we were ready to battle. We competed hard and it was a really gutsy team effort."
A point of concern for Lowry and his staff has to be the powerplay which went 0/6 on the night. Brandon's powerplay has only converted once in 27 chances since the Christmas break. However, on the other side of the coin, the Wheat Kings have only allowed one powerplay goal over the same span (22/23).
"This was one of the biggest wins of the year for us," said defenseman Chad Nychuk. "Our penalty kill was was excellent tonight, blocking shots all night. The defensive game really pulled us together as a group."
The Saskatoon Blades picked up a win over Red Deer on Friday, meaning the two teams are once again tied for third place in the East Division.
Brandon will head to Regina on Sunday afternoon before returning home to open a four-game homestand vs the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Shots: 11-7 Prince Albert
BWK - Chad Nychuk (4) (McCartney) 10:52
Shots: 7-5 Prince Albert
Final Shots: 29-21 Prince Albert