Friday, 20 January 2012

Anderson Spectacular in Brandon Loss to Blades

Brandon Anderson was outstanding in Friday's
3-2 loss in Saskatoon
The Brandon Wheat Kings wasted a spectacular goaltending performance in dropping a 3-2 decision to the Saskatoon Blades on Friday night.

Brandon Anderson made 43 saves in the Wheat Kings’ net including 19 in the second period in giving Brandon every opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time since early December.

“He made about three or four highlight of the night saves for us. He was steady, shots he got he covered and he gave us a chance and that’s what you want from him,” said Brandon assistant coach Darren Ritchie on CKLQ’s post-game show, “He was focused right from the start of the game and it was real good to see.”

The game had a playoff feel to it, which might have been expected considering the two teams were meeting in the back half of a doubleheader.

Nick Zajac opened the scoring for Saskatoon 9:07 into the 1st period but Brandon captain Mark Stone tied it just 15 seconds later and the teams went the dressing roon tied 1-1.

Michael Burns scored a power-play goal 1:40 into the second to give the Blades a 2-1 lead and Saskatoon pressed to expand that advantage but were unable to beat Anderson the rest of the middle frame.

Kyle Schmidt gave the Blades a brief 3-1 lead with 3:03 left in the third but Michael Ferland pulled Brandon back to within a goal with a power-play marker just 37 seconds later.

Alex Moodie made 33 saves in the Saskatoon net including a handful of quality saves to match Anderson on this night.

Despite Friday’s loss, Ritchie has been encouraged by his team’s play so far this week.

“It shows our guys care, the care about each other, they want to win for each other. Our bench has been excellent that last two nights, just the emotion with the guys and keeping thing positive,” said Ritchie, “It’s progress, and right now we’re going the right way.”

The loss was Brandon’s eighth in their last 10 games and leaves the Wheat Kings with a 23-21-1-2 record, six points ahead of Red Deer for eighth-place and the final playoff spot in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.

The Rebels do have three games in hand.

Brandon is back on home-ice Saturday when they entertain the Kootenay Ice (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff…D Brodie Melnychuk played his 293rd career game Friday, moving him past Brett Thurston and into ninth-place on the Wheat Kings’ all-time list…Brandon product Joel Edmundson had a Gordie Howe Hat-Trick for Moose Jaw on Friday, scoring his first goal of the season in the final minute, setting up Andrew Johnon’s overtime winner and was involved in a first period fight with Joe Antilla in Moose Jaw’s 6-5 win over Kootenay on Friday night.

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