WHL recap: Wheat Kings, Cougars and Broncos win one-goal affairs

Brandon 3 Kamloops 2

The visiting Kamloops Blazers (14-16-0-1) gave the Brandon Wheat Kings (23-7-0-1) everything they could handle on Tuesday night at Westman Place. But the speed of Evan Weinger and the skill of Stelio Mattheos shined through and led the Wheat Kings to their ninth straight win. Backup goalie Dylan Myskiw also played his part as he made a career high 43 saves on the 45 shots he saw and earned his fifth win in his sixth start this year.

Kamloops came at the Wheat Kings in the first, but were derailed by handing Brandon three power plays in the second-the period that they would do the most damage.

Kamloops was 0/2 on the power play, while Brandon went 1/5.

The Blazers opened the scoring on a joint effort from their top line. Jermaine Loewen got in on the fore-check and forced a turnover in the Wheat Kings zone. Then Garrett Pilon fed Luc Smith in the slot and hist shot was blocked down. Pilon found the rebound and beat an out-of-position Dylan Myskiw for his 16th goal this year.

Brandon tied things up less than two minutes later. Evan Weinger, who now has a goal in each of his last three games, got in behind the defense and was sent in on a breakaway with a great outlet pass by Connor Gutenberg. Weinger beat Kamloops goalie Dylan Ferguson low for his 14th this year.

Brandon then took their first lead off of some strong corner work by Ben McCartney and a great snap, wrist shot from Jonny Hooker.

They then made it 3-1 shortly thereafter as Stelio Mattheos made a slick move to drive the net and create a rebound for Baron Thompson to smack home. Thompson’s eight of the year came in on the power play.

With Brandon pressing in the third, Garrett Pilon kept this game close by clearing a puck off the goal line that had gotten behind Ferguson.

The Blazers took advantage and got back within one with 4:34 left in regulation. Ondrej Vala’s low shot on Myskiw was stopped, but the rebound kicked out Carson Denomie. He made a slick play to corral the fast-moving puck and tucked in past Myskiw’s left pad.

That would be all they could get past Myskiw though as the former Victoria Royal made 19 total saves in the third period.

Ferguson stopped 30 of 33 in the Blazers net. They will continue their trip through the East Division Wednesday in Regina. Brandon will try to get their win streak into the double digits Friday when they host Lethbridge.

 

Swift Current 2 Prince Albert 1

It was a storybook kind of game for Matteo Gennaro. In his 300th game in the WHL and playing against the team that drafted him in the bantam draft, he showed why the Swift Current Broncos (23-7-2-0) had traded for him, but scoring a big-time goal. With Tyler Steenbergen and Aleksi Heponiemi out of the lineup and heading to try to make their country’s U-20 World Junior Championship roster, Gennaro picked up the slack when his team needed him the most.

Gennaro out-muscled defenseman Brayden Pachal in front of Prince Albert Raiders (12-13-5-2) goalie Ian Scott and got his stick on a pass thrown to him by Patterson. The eventual game winner by Gennaro came with just 21 seconds left and showcased what a developed 20-year-old, strong forward can bring to a contender.

The Raiders played a dangerous game in the first period. They handed the Broncos five straight power plays, but they were able to survive them all, thanks mainly to Scott, who made 12 of his 36 stops in the frame.

The Broncos got seven power plays in the game and converted on just one, dropping their league-leading power play down to 34.9 percent.

The Broncos did finally get one on the board early in the second as Colby Sissons took a drop pass off the boards from Max Patterson and his shot found it’s way through heavy traffic in front of P.A. goalie Ian Scott and in.

After being out shot 31-19 through the first two periods, the Raiders threw some early pressure on the Broncos and tied the game. Max Martin fed Jordy Stallard on the rush and while his look was turned away, Cole Fonstad was there for the rebound and he netted his 11th on the year.

The Raiders had their best period of the game in the third, but would be undone by one of the newest Broncos.

Swift Current now leads the season series against P.A. 3-1 and will play their fifth game in six nights tomorrow vs. Kelowna.

Glenn Gawdin extended his point streak to eight games with an assist. He has 16 points in that span.

Logan Flodell stopped 34 of 35 in the win, his 19th this year.

Prince George 5 Victoria 4

The Prince George Cougars (12-14-3-2) almost saw another third-period lead slip away. With their meltdown at home against the Medicine Hat Tigers still fresh in their minds, the Cougars saw leads of 3-0 and 4-1 over the Victoria Royals (20-11-3-0) go up in smoke in the third period.

Instead a player they had brought in on the same day of the game, Nic Holowko set up 17-year-old rookie Max Kryski for his first WHL goal and the game winner with 5:46 left.

Ryan Schoettler, Jared Bethune, Aaron Boyd and Vladislav Mikhalcuk all had two points apiece for the Cougars, who have now won seven of their 18 home games this year.

Prince George opened the scoring as Ethan O’Rourke drove the net and drew a penalty. More importantly though for the Cougars, the puck was gathered in by Vladislav Mikhalchuk and he scored on a wraparound.

They added to their lead just 47 seconds later as Ryan Schoettler’s drive eluded Dean McNabb’s glove.

The Cougars made it 3-0 with another marker from Schoettler in the second. After 40 minutes P.G. had a 3-0 lead, despite being outshot 26-18.

That would chance in the third as after Igor Martynov traded goals with Cole Moberg, the Royals reeled off three goals in a span of 1:54. Dino Kambeiz, Tyler Soy and Kaid Oliver provided the markers and the game was tied.

Then Kryski scored his memorable goal and the Cougars were able to escape.

Tavin Grant turned away 41 of 45 for P.G., while McNabb stopped 20 of 25.

 

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Brandon Rivers

Longtime Portland Winterhawks' blogger on hodgesheroes.blogspot.com. I also write for SB Nation on the for the Seattle Sin Bin at http://www.sonicsrising.com/seattle-sin-bin. Further, I have a Seattle-sports podcast over at 206sportsjocks.com Originally from the Portland area, now living in Seattle. Proud husband and Father.