Saturday, 24 March 2012

Wheat Kings Blanked; Series Tied 1-1

The Brandon Wheat Kings dropped a 4-0 decision to the Calgary Hitmen on Friday night, evening their Eastern Conference Quarter-Final series at a game apiece.

Trevor Cheek had a hat-trick and Brandon Glover stopped 20 shots for the Hitmen, who also get a goal from Alex Roach just 1:25 into the first period that gave them their first lead of the series.

“We didn’t have a great start…they were ready to play, and we knew they would be better tonight,” said Brandon assistant coach Darren Ritchie on CKLQ’s post-game show, “We didn’t have much pace to our game…we didn’t have much pace to our game tonight, we didn’t have guys going to the hard areas, they did a really good job of keeping us to the outside. They were the better team tonight and definitely deserved the win.”

The Wheat Kings outshot Calgary 10-6 in the opening period but trailed 1-0 through 20 minutes – a score that stayed that way until Cheek scored his first goal with 34 seconds left in the 2nd period.

It was a bad angle shot from the left-wing corner that beat Brandon netminder Corbin Boes, who finished the night with 37 saves.

After Cheek made it 3-0 at the 7:54 mark of the third period, the Wheat Kings grew frustrated and spent the majority of the remaining 12 minutes of the contest shorthanded.

“This time of year, you have to play. It’s not about who’s tougher, it’s about coming the rink, playing hard and winning games,” said Ritchie, “We’re going to have to re-focus and get ready for Sunday. It’s a real big game for us, and it’s about just winning hockey games right now.”

The one adjustment Calgary made from Game #1 was pairing 20-year old defencemen Collin Bowman and Brock Sutherland together against Brandon’s top line, with the duo combining for a +4 rating while limiting the opportuinities Wheat Kings’ top line of Mark Stone, Michael Ferland and Brenden Walker.

“Those guys are used to playing against the other team’s top D all the time. I think those guys have a lot of pride, they’ll want to be better themselves,” said Ritchie, “I think if you ask them, they’d say they could be better so I expect those guys to be better on Sunday.”

The next three games of the Best-of-Seven series are scheduled for the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, with Game #3 on Sunday night (6:00 p.m., CDT).

Chaff…Cheek led the Hitmen with four goals in four games against the Wheat Kings during the regular season…Brandon D Eric Roy finished the game with a -3 rating while the line of Paul Ciarelli, Darian Dziurzynski and Jens Meilleur were a combined -6…Brandon is 3-3 lifetime in playoff games at the MTS Centre.

No comments: