Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Wheat Kings' Comeback Falls Short

The Lethbridge Hurricanes jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead and held on for a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings last night.

Michael Sofillas, Austin Fyten and Max Ross scored in the opening 20 minutes for the Hurricanes, who outshot Brandon 17-7 in the opening frame.

The Wheat Kings would rally to make a game of it over the final two periods, but the early three-goal cushion proved to be too much for Brandon to overcome.

“Tonight as just about how willing we were to pay the price to win on the road. I didn’t think in the first period that we were at all,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “I think they were a lot better than we were, plain and simple.”

Starts have been costly for the Wheat Kings, particularly on the road.

Brandon, who have lost seven straight road games, have given up the opening goal in six of those contests and been outscored 16-3 in the first period in the last seven road games.

“We have to approach these like playoff games, because that’s what we’re fighting for,” adds McCrimmon, “Your preparation, your commitment, your focus, you approach to the games has to be that serious and that dialed in in terms of how we have to play to win.”

Shayne Wiebe scored a pair of shorthanded goals in the second period for the Wheat Kings to get Brandon to within one at 3-2, and then had a change to tie the game and tie the WHL record for shorthanded goals in a game with a breakaway in the third period but failed to convert.

Lethbridge’s Russell Maxwell scored on a later power-play to give Lethbridge a 4-2 lead with Scott Glennie completing the scoring with a goal for Brandon with just under three minutes left.

“We did a tremendous job of not giving up, of sticking with it and finding a way to get back in the game,” says McCrimmon, “We’ve had these games before where it’s disappointing at the end of the night that you do as many things well as you do but come out of it empty-handed.”

Liam Liston made 37 saves in the Brandon net while Dylan Tait stopped 29 shots for the Hurricanes.

The loss leaves the Wheat Kings still three points back of eighth-place Prince Albert in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.

Brandon continues their Central Division road trip on Wednesday night when they visit the Kootenay Ice (7:30 p.m., CKLQ).

Chaff…ex Wheat King Peter Schaefer is one of four players who have scored three shorthanded goals in a single regular season game in WHL history (March 14, 1997 vs Medicine Hat) while Matt Calvert scored three shorthanded goals in a playoff game last spring, all in the second period of a 6-3 loss to Calgary on April 20th…former Wheat King Brayden Schenn scored his first goal as a member of the Blades on Tuesday, notching the eighth goal in Saskatoon’s 8-4 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary…the Hurricanes honoured the 1951 World Champion Lethbridge Maple Leafs by wearing replica jerseys in the contest, but attendance was still just 2,748.

Brandon Wheat Kings 3 at Lethbridge Hurricanes 4

First Period
1. Lethbridge, Sofillas 2 (Jackson, Johnston) 1:51
2. Lethbridge, Fyten 19 (Reddington) 9:50
3. Lethbridge, Ross 12 (Maxwell, Reddington) 15:35

Penalties: Miller Bdn, Machacek Let (unsportsmanlike, roughing) 16:53.

Second Period
4. Brandon, Wiebe 25 (MacKay) 3:52 (sh)
5. Brandon, Wiebe 26 18:31 (sh)

Penalties: Gustafsson Bdn (interference) 2:34, Johnston Leth (high-sticking) 10:54, Swyripa Bdn (tripping) 13:13, Sutter Leth (high-sticking) 14:23.

Thirrd Period
6. Lethbridge, Maxwell 6 (Maxwell, Ryckman), 12:39 (pp)
7. Brandon, Glennie 21 (Liston), 17:04

Penalties: Fransoo Bdn (holding) 2:33, Toews Bdn (high-sticking) 6:47, Wiebe Bdn (tripping) 12:31, Maxwell Leth (hooking) 14:46.

Shots on goal by
Brandon 7 13 12 - 32
Lethbridge 17 10 13- 40

Goal: Brandon: Liston (L,12-13-1); Lethbridge: Tait (W,5-7-1).

Power plays (goals-chances): Brandon: 0-3; Lethbridge: 1-5.

Referees: Andy Thiessen; Linesmen: Matthew Barker, Scott Sharun.

Attendance: 2,748.

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