By Carter Brooks
Photo by Rob Wallator
The Brandon Wheat Kings put together a full 60-minute effort on Wednesday night, shutting out the Red Deer Rebels 4-0.
Although Stelio Mattheos, Luka Burzan and Braden Schneider continued their offensive prowess, the real story of the night came from two Wheat Kings' rookies. Goaltender Connor Ungar - who was recalled due to a Jiri Patera injury - collected his first career Western Hockey League shutout, while Brandon product Ty Thorpe scored his first career goal in the Wheat Kings 4-0 road victory.
Not only was it Ungar's first ever WHL shutout, it was also his first career win, and the first team shutout by the Wheat Kings in the 2018-19 season. Wednesday's start was the second of the former unsigned free agent's young career, as the 17-year-old backstop previously skated for the Wheat Kings in late January during Patera's time away at the World Juniors. The Calgary product stopped all 34 shots he faced, in front of many family and friends.
Thorpe, also 17, finally found his first career goal in his 37th game. The former RHA Nationals Bantam and Midget Prep star opened the scoring for Brandon on an unassisted wraparound midway through the first period. That goal eventually ended up serving as the game-winner, as Ungar shut the door on all Rebel shots. Thorpe now has five points and 28 penalty minutes on the season.
Braden Schneider, Luka Burzan and Caiden Daley also added goals for Brandon, who improved its record to 21-19-7 through 47 games. The Wheat Kings now travel out to Calgary and Medicine Hat for back-to-back road contests on Friday and Saturday evenings, before returning home for a mid-week matchup with the Saskatoon Blades.