Early in the first period, it was evident the Brandon Wheat Kings were not going to roll over and have their tummy petted just because they can almost taste the comforts of home cooking. This was their sixth game on their current seven game, 11-day road trip through the province of British Columbia. The Wheat Kings dominated the first half of the period and if not for Blazer goaltender Dylan Ferguson the home team could have found themselves down by two or there as the shots were 9-1 at the media timeout.
Head Coach Serge Lajoie talked about Ferguson after the game, “he’s such a competitor…he gives a chance to win every single night, he works hard in practice and takes care of himself away from the rink. He’s dialed in.”
As fate would have it, Kamloops’ Zane Franklin continued his hot hand with 6:42 left in the first period as he finished a tight passing play between linemates Luc Smith and Orin Centazzo. After the game, Lajoie raved about Franklin’s play this year “I like Zane, the way he plays is no-nonsense, straight ahead. He can play the game different ways, he can play it hard, or he can play it finesse.”
The Wheat Kings pushed hard to end the first, but weren’t able to break the goose egg as the period ended 1-0.
The second period proved to be entertaining early as both teams were moving the puck quickly with scoring chances at both ends of the ice with the best one coming for the Wheat Kings with eight minutes played. The puck slid slowly across the home team’s goal line and out the other side before anyone could get their stick on it.
Brandon and Kamloops traded power plays in the second half of the period. Kamloops had good pressure but couldn’t extend their lead, while Brandon’s Stelio Mattheos was able to squeak a controversial goal over the line with 8.9 seconds left in the period. Mattheos crashed the net and made contact with Kamloops goaltender Ferguson and pushed the net off as the puck was crossing the line. It was determined that the puck was over the line before the net was off and a Kamloops’ player pushed Mattheos into Ferguson. The second ended with the score tied at one.
The Wheat Kings scored seven minutes into the third period to take the lead when defenseman Chase Hartje scored a power-play goal on a slapshot from the point.
The Blazers pushed for the tying goal on their own power play. Luke Zazula picked the puck up in the high slot and buried a wrist shot past import goalie Jiri Patera. Lajoie spoke to how the Blazers had to play to beat Patera “Sometimes you have to find different ways to put the puck in the net. Tonight it was crash the net and take away his eyes.” The teams went to overtime to settle the game.
The action was fast in overtime and was capped off by a slick backhand deke to the top shelf move by Brandon’s Stelio Mattheos who ended the game with two goals.
Dylan Ferguson was named the game’s first star after his 38 save performance in the 3-2 overtime loss.
Kamloops now heads down Highway One to Langley where they will take on the division leading Vancouver Giants. The Blazers and Giants will meet for the second time this season, back on October 12th the Giants came away with a 4-3 win after the shoot out.