Saturday, 17 November 2012

Wheat Kings Have Sluggish Start in Loss to Ice

Jayce Hawryluk scored his fourth goal in six games Friday
The Brandon Wheat Kings have fallen below .500 for the first time this season.

Austin Vetterl, Jaedon Descheneau and Sam Reinhart scored goals in the first 7 ½ minutes to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 5-3 victory over the Wheat Kings’ Friday night.

The Ice were averaging 2.3 goals per game going into the contest but struck early and often against a Brandon team that has been outscored 33-20 in the first period this season.

“Really, for me, the first two periods is Kootenay completely outplaying us, outworking us,” said Brandon assistant coach Darren Ritchie on CKLQ’s post-game show, “I think the plays that happened today, we were in the right spots, there just wasn’t guys ready to play the game. They were in the right spots, our support was good but, for some reason, our passing and our receiving wasn’t very good.”

The Wheat Kings were plagued by defensive miscues in the first period, something that has become far too normal for a Brandon team that has now allowed the most goals against in the WHL (87) and has the second-worst goals against average in the WHL at 3.87.

Jayce Hawryluk managed his fifth goal of the season and fourth in the last six games for Brandon while Ryan Pulock and Alessio Bertaggia scored as part of a two-goal third period for the Wheat Kings when the club was already trailing 5-1.

“Just plain and simple, we worked,” said Ritchie when asked what the difference was in the final frame, “It looked like we were just playing the game and not thinking. Sometime, it looks like our guys are thinking too much instead of just playing.”

Corbin Boes stopped 11 of 15 shots before being replaced by Curtis Honey to start the second period.

Honey stopped 16 of 17 shots over the final 40 minutes and has stopped 132 of 141 shots in his last four appearances.

Brandon has now lost three in a row and nine of their last 12 games to fall to 9-10-2-1 on the season.

The Wheat Kings will try to rebound when they face the Ice again Saturday night in Cranbrook (7:35 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

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