Friday, 30 March 2012

Ciarelli OT Hero in Hometown

The Brandon Wheat Kings have moved into the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs for the eighth time in 11 seasons.

Paul Ciarelli scored his second goal of the game 8:26 into overtime as the Wheat Kings beat the Calgary Hitmen 3-2 Thursday night to win the Eastern Conference Quarter-Final 4-1.

"The play happened so fast, the puck was going toward the net and I saw the goalie almost about cover the puck so I tried to get a stick on it," said Ciarelli on CKLQ's post-game show, "After that, I lost sight of the puck and I guess I got credit for it so I'm happy about that but to see (Darian) Dziurzynski shovel it in, just in case, was an extra good feeling."

Ciarelli not only got the all-important winning goal, but his marker at 4:14 of the third period tied the game 2-2 and came about 2 1/2 minutes after Calgary had taken the lead with goals 33 seconds apart early in the third period from Alex Gogolev and Chase Clayton.

Alessio Bertaggia opened the scoring with his third goal of the series 36 seconds into the second period after the teams were tied 0-0 through 20 minutes.

Corbin Boes made 42 saves in the Brandon net including eight in overtime.

"Their goaltender almost matched him save-for-save. When I think of the quality chances that we had, we had him down and out a couple of times and just couldn't pull the trigger," said Brandon coach Cory Clouston, "I think the scoring chances were very even, but without a doubt because of (Calgary netminder) Brandon Glover's play, Corbin had to be our best player, and he was."

Boes finished the series allowed ten goals on 181 shots for a 1.95 goals against average and .945 save percentage.

Ciarelli is a 20-year old Winnipeg product in his final season with the Wheat Kings, and couldn't have scripted a better ending to what is likely his final WHL game in his hometown.

"Couldn't ask for something more than that. To have all my family and friends and just to be in Winnipeg and get those two goals, it's definitely something I'll remember," said Ciarelli, "This is just an awesome experience being here."

After the game, Wheat Kings' general manager Kelly McCrimmon was presented with the game puck by the team.

Thursday would have been his late brother Brad’s 53rd birthday.

Brad died in September when the plane of the KHL team he was coaching, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, crashed in Russia.

Brandon defenceman Ryan Pulock likely also played with a bit of a heavy heart as Thursday marked the two-year anniversary of the death of his younger brother Brock, who killed in a car accident just North of Brandon in 2010.

The Wheat Kings will get at least a week off before starting their second round series, which will likely be against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

The Oil Kings won their first round series over Kootenay on Thursday night, and immediately announced that the first two games of their Eastern Conference Semifinal would be April 6th and 7th at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

Chaff...the Wheat Kings got goals from ten different players and points from 17 different players in the series...Brandon was 0-for-3 on the power-play, including an opportunity in overtime, and finished the series just 2-for-17...attendance at the MTS Centre for Game #5 Thursday was 4,002. The total for the three games in Winnpeg this week was 11,143 or 3,714 per game...Thursday was Brandon's first playoff overtime game since the semifinal of the 2010 Memorial Cup...the Kamloops Blazers announced Thursday that captain Chase Schaber would miss the rest of the playoffs after he suffered a long-term leg injury in Game #3 of their first round series against Victoria.

No comments: