Henrik Samuelsson’s first career WHL hat-trick led the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 6-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Monday night.
Samuelsson also added an assist for the Oil Kings in the first meeting between Edmonton and Brandon since the Oil Kings swept the Wheat Kings in the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs last spring.
Edmonton seemed to toy with the Wheat Kings for large portions of the contest, particularly in the second period when the Oil Kings outshot Brandon 18-9 including a 13-1 margin until the marketing break midway through the period.
“It just seemed like our belief really got lost as they kept coming and kept coming,” said Brandon coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk on CKLQ’s post-game show, “Our belief and how we deal with adversity really came out today, and we have to do a lot better job at it.”
Keegan Lowe added a pair of goals and Mitchell Moroz also scored for Edmonton as they improved their Eastern Conference leading record to 25-8-2-3.
Tim McGauley and Richard Nejezchleb scored for the Wheat Kings while Corbin Boes stopped 30 shots in the Brandon net.
Brandon’s efforts in Monday’s contest were hampered by an ineffective power-play, which finish 0-for-6 on the night and is now 1-for-20 in their last six games and have fallen to 20th overall in the WHL this season with a 15.4% success rate.
The Wheat Kings had a pair of power-play chances before the game was 7 ½ minutes old and still scoreless, and a pair of 5-on-3 opportunites late in the second period with the Oil Kings leading by a 4-1 score.
In fact, Brandon is 2-for-12 on 5-on-3 power-play opportunities for the season.
“We’re out of synch. We’re not communicating together, we’re not doing our bread-and-butter plays where the puck does the work, we’re not doing our rotations where we’re making the PK work to us instead of the PK working to what we’re doing,” said Gylywoychuk, “We got ourworked almost every power-play we had tonight, we’ve got to able to spread things out, let the puck do the work, have some entries with speed and take advantage of having the extra guy out there.”
Overall this season, Brandon has allowed 27 more power-play and shorthanded goals against (54) than they’ve scored and after starting the season 8-for-27 with the man advantage in their first four games, the team is 18-for-142 (12.7%) in the last 35 games.
The loss leaves the Wheat Kings with a 14-21-2-2 record and in 11th-place in the Eastern Conference, three points behind eighth-place Moose Jaw for the final playoff spot.
Chaff...Brandon F Michael Ferland left the game in the second period with what appeared to be a knee injury and did not return...Wheat Kings’ F Alessio Bertaggia finished the round-robin at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa, Russia with two goals and four points in four games, helping Switzerland advance to the medal round. The Swiss play Russia in Wednesday’s quarter-finals...Wheat Kings’ F Jayce Hawryluk was the Team West Player of the Game in their 6-4 loss to Finland Monday at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Quebec. Hawryluk has pointless in the contest for 0-and-3 Team West...Brandon F John Quenneville and Team Pacific fell 6-3 to Sweden Monday at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, dropping their record to 1-1-0-0.