Playing in their final game before a long road trip, the Brandon Wheat Kings gave their fans something to cheer about early on Friday night, but there wasn’t a ton of cheering after 60 minutes.
Brandon scored just a few minutes into the contest, but Saskatoon scored two straight the rest of the way to beat the Wheat Kings 2-1 inside of Westoba Place. It was the second meeting of the two teams in a week, after Brandon stunned Saskatoon last week. If you don’t remember that game, Brandon was down two goals with just 1:05 left before they staged the comeback.
However, it wasn’t to be for Brandon on Friday, and they won’t have another chance to win at Westoba Place until November 1.
“I don’t think we were overly pleased with our first period, but I thought we were happy after that,” said Don MacGillivray, assistant coach, courtesy of wheatkings.com. “We had some opportunities to get the puck past their goaltender but we couldn’t get it done.”
“The game certainly sets us up well to play on the road,” added MacGillivray.
Just 3:08 into the contest, Cole Reinhardt scored his first goal of the season as Brandon went up 1-0 on the unassisted goal.
Saskatoon carried most of the play for the remainder of the near 17 minutes left in the period which included a goal. Eric Florchuk potted his first of the season at the 10:35 mark to tie it up. Tristen Robins had the lone assist in his return to his hometown.
Ethan Kruger got the start in place of injured Jiri Patera, and he was superb in the first, making 17 saves. Patera is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. The club has recalled Connor Ungar from the Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
The shots after 20 were 18-9 for Saskatoon.
The shot clock tilted the other way in the second period. After being outshot by nine in the opening frame, Brandon outshot Saskatoon 14-5 in the second. However, Nolan Maier was perfect, making all 14 saves.
Saskatoon took three penalties in the second compared to just one in the first period. Brandon, meanwhile, took one penalty in the second.
With a 1-1 game going into the third, the fans at Westoba Place were on the edge of their seats, trying to cheer on their team to victory.
But, Saskatoon had other plans. On the penalty kill, Chase Wouters scored his third goal of the season, shorthanded, as the Blades took a 2-1 lead. Swan River, Manitoba’s Riley McKay had the assist on the eventual game-winning goal.
Brandon once again outshot Saskatoon in the third, this time 14-10, but they were unable to beat Maier. The Saskatoon netminder ended up making 36 saves on the night as Wouters’ goal was the final of the contest. Saskatoon will head back to the City of Bridges with two points.
Ethan Kruger took the loss for Brandon, but he played well, making 31 saves on 33 shots.
Brandon will now become road warriors. Starting on Wednesday, they will play seven games in 11 days, beginning with a date against the Silvertips in Everett.
“I liked how we played in the last half of the game and our guys are getting better. They’re understanding what it takes to be successful,” concluded MacGillivray. “We’re going into some tough barns. I think it’s a good time for our group to go on the road, it’s a chance for us to gel and continue working hard.”
For more on the Wheat Kings’ grueling trip that’s coming up, check back early next week.
- Dominic Schmiemann made his Wheat King debut, and he was a -1 with five shots.
- Both teams struggled on the man advantage. Saskatoon went 0-for-2, while Brandon went 0-for-6.
- Brandon scored on their third shot of the game but never did again.
- Two players went perfect on the faceoff dot. Rookie Braden Plaschewsky was 5-for-5 for Saskatoon and Captain Connor Gutenberg was 2-for-2 for Brandon.