Thursday, 3 February 2011

Wheat Kings' Kill Powers Brandon past Broncos

The Brandon Wheat Kings are back in a playoff spot.

Shayne Wiebe scored a pair of goals including the winner with 8:28 left in the third period as the Wheat Kings downed the visiting Swift Current Broncos 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Penalty-killing was key for the Wheat Kings.

A sore spot for much of the season, Brandon went 5-for-5 against the Broncos including the final three minutes of a charging major to Wheat Kings' rookie Spencer Galbraith, a lengthy 5-on-3 in the third period and another kill with less than three minutes remaining.

It was a big accomplishment for a team that went into the game ranked 21st in the WHL in penalty-killing (75.8%) including a 66.7% success rate in their previous ten games.

"We blocked some shots, we did a good job of not having tired people on the ice, we did a good job with our changes, we got some saves from Liam (Liston) when called upon," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game, "I just thought, positionally, we were in pretty good position to not give up quality chances against and I thought that was key for us."

Liston finished with 18 saves while Jordan Fransoo had the other goal for Brandon and 16-year old defenceman Ryan Pulock continued his strong season with a pair of assists, giving him 25 points in 44 games this season.

It was Brandon's fifth win in the last seven games, several of which have been of the one-goal variety.

"At the start of the year, we had a few tough losses and it was definitely a downer," says Pulock, who is tied for second in scoring among rookie defencemen in the WHL, "Now that we've come back and won some close hockey games, it's definitely a positive."

Justin Dowling and Reese Scarlett scored the goals for Swift Current while Mark Friesen had a fine performance in the Broncos' net, making 43 saves.

The victory moved the Wheat Kings into sole possession of eighth-place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of both Lethbridge and Prince Albert and one point behind the seventh-place Broncos.

Next action for Brandon is Friday night when they host the Regina Pats (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...Brayden Schenn had four assists in Saskatoon's 6-2 victory over Regina Wednesday, giving the former Wheat Kings 15 points (5 G, 10 A) in seven games with the Blades...F Scott Glennie and F Matt MacKay both had their six-game point scoring streaks snapped on Wednesday night...Wednesday's game was the 34th time Brandon has been in a contest decided by two goals or less. They are 11-15-1-7 in those games...Friday's attendance of 3,298 pushed the Wheat Kings over the 100,000 mark for the season.

Swift Current Broncos 2 at Brandon Wheat Kings 3

First Period
1. Brandon, Wiebe 28 (Stone, Pulock) 7:18
2. Brandon, Fransoo 4 (Toews, Ferland) 14:48
3. Swift Current, Dowling 17 (Peddle, Wagner) 18:04

Penalty: Wiebe Bdn (goaltender interference) 2:29.

Second Period
No Scoring.

Penalties: Scarlett Bdn (instigating, fighting, misconduct), Galbraith Bdn (charging major, fighting, game misconduct) 2:24, Reum SC (tripping) 16:39, Craig SC (interference) 19:43.

Third Period
4. Swift Current, Scarlett 5 (Peddle, Dowling) 9:30
5. Brandon, Wiebe 29 (Stone, Pulock) 11:32

Penalties: MacKay Bdn (tripping) 5:19, Stone Bdn (slashing) 5:25, Swift Current bench (too many men; served by Cameron) 6:59, Hunter Bdn (holding) 17:18.

Shots on goal by
Swift Current 4 9 7 - 20
Brandon 14 13 19 - 46

Goal: Swift Current: Friesen (L,22-25-1); Brandon: Liston (W,14-15-1).

Power plays (goals-chances): Swift Current: 0-5; Brandon: 0-3.

Referees: Patrick Gagnon, Brett Montsion; Linesmen: Bryden Hutlet, Darrell Surminski.

Attendance: 3,298.

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