Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tigers End Wheat Kings' Season

The Brandon Wheat Kings saw their season come to an end Monday night with a 7-5 loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Emerson Etem and Kellan Tochkin had two goals apiece and Linden Vey had three assists for Medicine Hat as the Tigers win the Eastern Conference Quarter-Final 4-2.

The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period but Brandon had a chance to climb back into the contest with a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity late in the first and early in the second period.

The Wheat Kings failed to capitalize and Medicine Hat captain Wacey Hamilton took a breakaway pass as he came out of the penalty box and scored 55 seconds into the second period to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

Brandon attempted to come back from the three-goal deficit the rest of the night, twice getting to within a pair of goals and but never inching any closer.

“I thought our team played hard, they didn’t quit and gave themselves a chance,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “We couldn’t get enough pucks to drop and we couldn’t stop them from scoring.”

Vey and Etem, who were the Tigers top two scorers during the regular season, combined for 18 points over the final three games of the series after being held to just three points in the first three contests.

It was no coincidence that all three of those games were Medicine Hat victories.

Meanwhile, Michael Ferland notched his second career playoff hat-trick for Brandon on Monday night with Tyrel Seaman and Paul Ciarelli also scoring for the Wheat Kings.

Deven Dubyk stopped 33 shots for Medicine Hat while Corbin Boes made 19 saves for Brandon.

The result sets up the second round of the WHL playoffs, with Medicine Hat facing Red Deer and Saskatoon taking on Kootenay in the Eastern Conference Semifinals while Portland faces Kelowna and Spokane battles Tri-City in the Western Conference Semifinals.

As for the series as a whole, many will point to Brandon’s inability to win Game #4 when they led 4-2 before giving up three unanswered third period goals including Linden Vey’s winner with just 25 seconds left.

“I said all along that Game #4 in of itself wouldn’t sink our ship but how we responded would determine our fate,” said McCrimmon, “I didn’t think we played good enough in Game #5 and, tonight, I thought we did play good enough to win and didn’t.”

“I don’t really think you can put an exact pointer on the whole series. I think we played well but we obviously didn’t play as well as we needed to,” said Brandon captain Shayne Wiebe after Monday’s game, “It’s a good learning experience for a lot of the young guys and they played well this series, they showed they can play in the league and I’m excited for them for the next couple of years.”

The 20-year old Wiebe played his final game of junior Monday and was forced to watch most of it from the end of the bench after injuring his hand blocking a shot late in the first period.

Fellow 20-year olds David Toews and Matt MacKay also played their final junior games Monday as did 19-year old forward Scott Glennie, who is expected to play in the Dallas Stars’ system next season.

In fact, Glennie will begin playing in the Stars’ system immediately, as he’s scheduled to join Dallas’ AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, on Tuesday.

Texas has four games remaining in the regular season and are in a position to make the AHL playoffs.

Chaff…D Ryley Miller returned to the Brandon lineup Monday after missing Game #5 on Saturday night…former Wheat Kings Andrew Hayes and Darren Bestland were among the 3,007 in attendance at Monday’s game…Glennie had two assists Monday to give him 39 career playoff points, moving him past Bob Brown and Kelly Smart into 15th-place on the Wheat Kings’ all-time playoff scoring list.

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