The Brandon Wheat Kings were coming off two straight wins where they didn’t give up a goal to begin 2020. Jiri Patera was excellent in net and the team’s offence got it done when it had to.
Following the wins, the team was set to begin a four-game homestand. The goal for Jiri Patera heading in was this:
“Our goal is to play good in front of our home fans. We had some struggles on home ice at the start of the season,” said Patera. “We need to make sure it’s hard to win games here in Brandon.”
The team’s first test wasn’t an easy one as the Medicine Hat Tigers rolled into town. Medicine Hat is one of the strongest teams in the Central Division and Western Hockey League.
The Tigers rolled into Westoba Place to begin a quick two-game Manitoba trip that includes a game against Winnipeg on Wednesday. Medicine Hat had a chance to jump into second place in the Central Division with a win in Brandon.
Jiri Patera, however, had other plans and so did the Brandon offence. Despite being heavily outshot, the Wheat Kings managed to pick up a big 4-3 win over Medicine Hat. Brandon also showed off some late-game heroics in the win.
Medicine Hat peppered Patera with 47 shots, but the Czech Republic native was once again excellent as he turned away 44 of them to pick up another win.
“We showed a lot of character with this win. We played a full 60 minutes,” said Patera after the game courtesy of wheatkings.com. “We’re really starting to find out what kind of team we are.”
Medicine Hat started the scoring in the game as Cole Sillinger tallied his 14th of the season with just 1:37 left in the first. The goal was on the power play.
Despite trailing 1-0 after 20, Patera was the reason it wasn’t perhaps a bigger deficit as he turned away 16 shots. Mads Sogaard made 10 saves for Medicine Hat.
The second period brought on a couple more goals, beginning with Brandon as Luka Burzan scored on the power play, just 1:09 into the frame.
The man advantage continued to be the story of the game nearly a dozen minutes later. Corson Hopwo restored Medicine Hat’s lead as they went up 2-1 at the 13:45 mark — one which the team held into the third period.
Patera made another 17 saves in the second while Sogaard turned away 11.
Ty Thorpe came up clutch for Brandon early in the third. While killing a penalty, Thorpe beat Sogaard for his sixth goal of the season which tied the game up at two.
Ridly Greig then scored his 14th of the campaign as Brandon took its first lead of the game at the 4:06 mark.
Brandon held that lead for a little bit more than 12 minutes when Medicine Hat responded. Noah Danielson scored just his second goal of the season to tie the game up with 3:06 left.
Both teams went back and forth the rest of the way, but the game looked like it was overtime bound. However, Brandon had other plans. Jiri Patera and Braden Schneider set up Ridly Greig who scored his second of the game with just one second left.
The goal had the more than 3,000 fans in attendance jumping and it sent them home happy.
The final shots were 47-30 for Medicine Hat.
“The building was right behind us and that was just awesome,” said Thorpe after the game.
With the win, Brandon has inched closer to Saskatoon and Winnipeg. The team is now just five points back of Saskatoon for second in the East Division and six behind Winnipeg for first.
Medicine Hat, meanwhile, remains one point behind Lethbridge for second in the Central Division.
Brandon is off until Friday when Red Deer is in town. Medicine Hat is in Winnipeg on Wednesday.
- With the 44-save performance, Patera has now stopped 138 of the last 142 shots he’s faced.
- Brandon has now won five straight games. The last time they gave up more than three goals was on December 27.
- The Tigers’ loss snapped their two-game win streak.