Saturday, 10 April 2010

Wheat Kings, Blades All Even

You can hit the reset button for the Brandon Wheat Kings and Saskatoon Blades.

The Blades rallied for three goals in the third period to defeat the Wheat Kings 4-3 on Friday night to even the WHL's Eastern Conference Semifinal at two games apiece.

Brandon led 2-1 and had outshot Saskatoon 25-14 through 40 minutes but the club's inability to expand on that lead certainly played a part in the outcome.

"I thought we had played well enough to have a wider lead at that time than what we did," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game show, "At the end of the night, it came back to haunt us."

Saskatoon netminder Steven Stanford had a lot to do with the Wheat Kings inability to extend their lead, finishing with 31 saves.

"We did a lot of good things (Friday) night and we had a lot of chances, we just didn't bury our opportunities," says Brandon left-winger Shayne Wiebe, who had two assists in Friday's contest, "I think it's just making sure we get pucks on net and crash the net on him. He'll be shaky and everything...it's just too bad that things didn't go our way (Friday) night."

Colby Robak, Aaron Lewadniuk and Brayden Schenn scored the goals for Brandon Friday night while Jacob De Serres stopped 26 shots in the Wheat Kings' net.

Game #4 had more of the 'feel' of a playoff game than the previous three in the series with plenty of physical play, scoring chances, good saves and all the other intangibles that go with a post-season game.

You should expect more of that in Game #5 on Saturday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

"It's a real big game. Home ice hasn't gone how we expected it to go for our team," says McCrimmon, "That being said, where we're at now is where you'd be in more of a traditional series, tied 2-2 heading home for Game #5."

The Wheat Kings could get a boost Saturday night with the return of fourth-year centre Jay Fehr.

Fehr missed the last three games while serving a three-game suspension.


Speaking of suspensions, Saskatoon defenceman Jyri Niemi could be facing one after getting a match penalty at the end of the first period Friday.

Niemi and Brandon defenceman Alexander Urbom engaged in a fight and Urbom ended up with a cut on his forehead.

Niemi had tape in the fingers of his right hand and, although it appeared he never hit Urbom with the hand the tape as on, he was assessed the match penalty.

The WHL rulebook states: "Any player or goalkeeper wearing tape or any other material on his hands (below the wrist) who cuts or injures an opponent during a fight will receive a match penalty in addition to any other penalties imposed including for fighting under this rule."

The Match penalty is automatically reviewed by the WHL office.

Chaff...How important is Game #5? Over the past four playoff seasons (including 2010), the team winning Game #5 in a series tied 2-2 has gone on to win the series 13 of 17 times...The back-to-back home-ice losses in Games #3 and #4 are the first back-to-back losses at home for Brandon since October 9th and 16th...F Brayden Schenn and F Matt Calvert are a combined -11 in the last two games...Schenn does have points in all eight playoff games (7 G, 6 A)…F Shayne Wiebe is on a four-game point streak (1 G, 6 A)…F Aaron Lewadniuk is on a three-game point streak (1 G, 3 A)…D Colby Robak has 18 points (4 G, 14 A) in the last 15 games…F Brent Raedeke has 15 points (7 G, 8 A) in the last 14 games.

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