Based on Sunday’s performance, some may start calling the Brandon Wheat Kings “The Comeback Kids”. After playing on Friday and Saturday back at Westoba Place in Brandon, the club hit the road for a late afternoon game against the Saskatoon Blades on Sunday.
It was a game that looked like the Blades had things locked up, but the kids from the Wheat City said not so fast. The club earned their third win of the season in a very improbable way. Down by two goals with just more than a minute left in regulation, the team scored two quickly to push to game into overtime and they ended up beating the Blades, 5-4 in a shootout.
“It’s a funny business. There’s been games of late that we probably didn’t deserve to win and we did,” said Mitch Love, Blades head coach. “We probably deserved a win on Sunday, but we didn’t get it done. That was our message to the club after the game, it’s a fine line. It’s not easy to win games in this league.” Audio provided by the Saskatoon Blades Hockey Club.
“I didn’t mind our hockey game, but on back-to-back shifts, they had their deadly people on the ice and they made it happen,” Love continued.
Playing for his hometown team, Lynden McCallum opened the scoring on the night with his second of the season 11:06 into the first.
Trailing 1-0 after 20 in their home rink, the Blades flipped the script. 6:27 into the second, Brandonite Tristen Robins also scored his second of the season to tie the game up. Eric Florchuk and Kyle Crnkovic had the assists.
At the 15:04 mark, Saskatoon kept it coming in front of a great crowd inside of SaskTel Centre. That’s when Colton Dach, the brother of Kirby Dach, set up Zach Huber who scored his second goal of the season.
One of Brandon’s star’s tied the game not long after that. With 1:42 left in the second, Ridly Greig netted his first goal of the season. Cole Reinhardt and Zach Wytinck had the assists on the game tying goal.
Tied at two nearly midway through the third, Saskatoon got back on the offensive. Kyle Crnkovic scored his fourth of the season with Majid Kaddoura getting the assist on the goal to make it 3-2.
At the 15:42 mark, Riley McKay made it 4-2 Saskatoon. His third goal of the season was assisted by Chase Wouters and Cyle McNabb.
After getting the rest on Saturday night, Jiri Patera was back in net for Brandon. But, in order for the Wheat Kings to get any points on the night, they had to make something special happen and they sure did. With Patera out of the net, Ridly Greig scored his second of the night and season as the deficit was trimmed to 4-3. Nolan Ritchie and Lynden McCallum had the assists.
With the odds still stacked against Brandon, it looked like Saskatoon would hold on. But, Brandon decided to mess up any odds against them. With Patera once again out of the net, Connor Gutenberg scored his first of the season at the perfect time to tie the game up with just 18 seconds left. Braden Schneider had the primary assist while Ben McCartney earned the secondary.
Thanks to the two late goals, one point was secured for Brandon and also Saskatoon. Another was up for grabs and Brandon looked like they could seal it in overtime as they out shot the Blades, 5-0, but it wasn’t to be. The game was shootout bound.
In the skills competition, both Ridly Greig and Luka Burzan scored for Brandon. Patera stopped both Kyle Crnkovic and Eric Florchuk.
The crazy comeback was complete and the more than 2700 fans in attendance were in shock.
“We have to learn how to finish out games. We were up two and we played on our heels and that hurt us,” said Riley McKay who scored a goal in the game.
Saskatoon went 23-6-5 on home ice last season. This year, they’re 0-2-0-1 at SaskTel Centre so far.
“We have to find a way to win in our barn, it should be an advantage for us playing at home,” concluded McKay.
Brandon, meanwhile, is now 2-1 on the road this season. Their 3-4 record early has them in the fourth spot in the wildcard. Saskatoon is 3-3 and they’re one point ahead of Brandon.
- Both teams combined for zero power play goals. Brandon went 0-for-4 while Saskatoon went 0-for-2.
- Ridly Greig had an all-star type of performance. On top of his two goals, he had nine shots and he won 15-of-23 face-offs.
- Brandon earned four-of-six points in their three-in-three weekend. Their lone glitch was Saturday night in a 2-1 loss against Edmonton.
- The loss snapped Saskatoon’s two-game winning streak.
Make sure you come back on Monday morning for a look at what’s coming up for the Wheat Kings.