Saturday, 7 April 2012

Wheat Kings Fall Short in Game #1

It took a while for the Wheat Kings to get their feet underneath them, and then it was a case of too little, too late as Brandon dropped a 2-1 decision to the Edmonton Oil Kings to begin the WHL’s Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

Kristians Pelss and Dylan Wruck scored the goals for Edmonton, who led 1-0 and 2-0 at the period breaks while outshooting Brandon 34-14 in the first 40 minutes.

The Wheat Kings looked overmatched in the first two periods but managed to keep it close thanks to strong play from netminder Corbin Boes, and then found their footing in the third period.

“We had a few days off there between games and I think we had a little bit of rust,” said Brandon defenceman Brodie Melnychuk on CKLQ’s post-game show, “I think we knocked that off in the third period and I think we really showed what we’re capable of…we just have to play a full 60 that way so I think we’ll be fine.”

One of the reasons for the Wheat Kings’ surge in the third period was some subtle line changes that included moving Kevin Sundher into Brenden Walker’s usual spot between Mark Stone and Michael Ferland.

“We gave them some new looks. We have the ability up front to change things and sometimes you have to make that,” said Brandon assistant coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk, “We had some guys that added some spark to us and, at this time of year, you’re looking for someone to step up and add some spark in the third period we had some guys step forward and do that.”

Melnychuk scored Brandon’s only goal 8:23 into the third period to cut Edmonton’s lead to 2-1 and the Wheat Kings put the pressure on the Oil Kings the rest of the period but unable to beat Laurent Brossoit for the equalizer.

Brossoit finished with 28 saves including 14 in the third period while Corbin Boes stopped 45 shots in the Brandon net.

Game #2 of the Best-of-Seven series goes Saturday night at Rexall Place in Edmonton (6:35 p.m., 880 CKLQ or online at

“We just have to work a little harder, be a little smarter,” added Melnychuk, “Our passes weren’t that crisp to start the game, we turned pucks over and it cost us. We just have to work on our all-around game and get better for Game #2.”

Chaff...The Wheat Kings hadn’t lost Game #1 of a playoff series since April 17, 2009 – Game #1 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Final against Calgary Hitmen...Brandon went 0-for-2 on the power-play while the Oil Kings were 1-for-2...attendance in Edmonton was 8,402...the game was delayed for several minutes early in the first period when a Ryley Miller hit on Henrik Samuelsson cause a pane of glass adjacent to the penalty-box to shatter...Brandon product Joel Edmundson scored both goals for Moose Jaw in the Warriors 2-1 victory over Medicine Hat in Game #1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal on Friday night.

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