Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Wheat Kings Pushed to Brink

The Brandon Wheat Kings find themselves on the brink of playoff elimination.

The Wheat Kings dropped a 4-3 decision to the Calgary Hitmen on Wednesday night, a victory that gives Calgary a 3-1 lead in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Final.

Alexander Urbom and Toni Rajala scored in the opening three minutes of Wednesday’s contest to give the Wheat Kings the start they were looking for.

However, things turned around quickly in the second period when Calgary scored three times in a 4:54 span to take a 3-2 lead – a lead the Hitmen would not relinquish the rest of the night.

“That’s where the game, probably, was won and lost, the first seven minutes of the second period,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “It ended up being the diffence in the game, in my opinion.”

Ian Schultz got the Hitmen on the board and Kris Foucault, a notorious Wheat Kings’ killer the last two post-seasons, scored the next two goals to give Calgary the 3-2 advantage.

Brandon pushed for the equalizer in the third period but, much like Tuesday night, couldn’t beat Calgary netminder Martin Jones, who finished with 34 saves.

Part of the issue for the Wheat Kings as their power-play, which finished 0-for-6 including three opportunities in the final frame.

“They had a lot of pressure on us on the walls,” says Brandon centre Jay Fehr, ‘Their D were really physical and they didn’t give us a lot of room to set up.”

Tyler Fiddler padded Calgary’s lead to 4-2 at the 11:42 mark of the third period before Brenden Walker got the Wheat Kings back to within one with 2:52 remaining but the Wheat Kings couldn’t get the equalizer.

Andrew Hayes made his third start of the playoffs for Brandon and finished with 20 saves.
Game #5 of the series is set for Friday night in Calgary.

“We just have to play 60 minutes,” says Fehr, “That’s been our downfall here, one period on, one period off. That’s hurt us and they’ve taken advantage of it.”

Chaff…Brandon led the WHL with 28 home-ice wins in the regular season but are now 3-4 at home in the playoffs with four losses in their last five games at Westman Communications Group Place…D Ryley Miller took warmup for the second straight night but was scratched again as he continues to try and come back from a broken jaw suffered in late February…F Jesse Sinatynski, D Darren Bestland and G Liam Liston were Brandon’s other scratches on Wednesday.

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