Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blades Dice Wheat Kings

Former Wheat King Michael Ferland was held pointless in his first return
to Brandon as a member of the Saskatoon Blades
The Saskatoon Blades scored three unanswered goals in the second period and went on to a 4-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday night.

Matej Stransky and Josh Nicholls scored goals 56 seconds apart late in the second period to break open a 1-0 game in the Blades' favour while Andrey Makarov stopped 34 shots in the Saskatoon net.

"The first period, we weren't as sharp and we weren't competing as hard as we needed to," said Brandon assistant coach David Anning on CKLQ's post-game show, "When we didn't capitalize on our power-play opportunity and didn't generate much momentum, they kept coming at us and we were on our heals for much of the night."

The teams were tied 0-0 after the opening 20 minutes with the Wheat Kings outshooting the Blades 14-11 in the opening frame but Lukas Sutter turned the momentum in Saskatoon's favour by scoring his third goal in as many games 1:36 into the second period.

The momentum never swung back the Wheat Kings' way, with Saskatoon outshooting Brandon 35-21 over the final 40 minutes of the contest.

"It's about managing the game, managing the puck. We wanted to get them on their heals, we wanted to establish our forecheck, make their defencemen turn and generate some momentum and get some quality looks," added Anning, "Regardless of the shot clock here, I didn't think we generated a lot of good looks to the net or generated a lot of momentum."

Colin Valcourt also scored for the Blades while Tim McGauley spoiled Makarov's shutout bid with 5:42 left in the third period.

Corbin Boes stopped 42 shots in a losing cause for Brandon as the Wheat Kings (17-27-2-2) fell 11 points out of a playoff spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference.

Brandon's next action is Friday when they open a three-game in three-night Alberta road trip by taking on the Red Deer Rebels.

Chaff...Former Wheat King Michael Ferland was held pointless in his return to Brandon while ex Wheat King Brendan Walker assisted on Valcourt's late third period goal...Ironically, Brandon defenceman Tyler Yaworski wore Ferland's old #27 for a big chunk of the first period after tearing his #3 jersey during an early first period fight with Saskatoon D Dalton Thrower...Brandon D Rene Hunter left Tuesday's game in the second period with what appeared to be a hand injury after blocking a shot...Wheat Kings' prospect Rhett Gardner, whom Brandon acquired in the Alessio Bertaggia deal with Spokane on January 10th, has committed to the University of North Dakota...former Wheat Kings' coach Dean Clark was relieved of his head coaching duties by Prince George on Tuesday. Former Kootenay head coach Mark Holick is expected to be named Clark's replacement on Wednesday...former Wheat Kings' captain Keith Aulie scored his first goal as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning in their 4-1 victory over Carolina on Tuesday.

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