Monday, 25 February 2013

Wheat Kings Fall Flat in Loss to Broncos

Graham Black had two goals, three points in the Broncos' 6-1
victory over Brandon
  It was a forgetable weekend road trip for the Brandon Wheat Kings into their neighbouring province of Saskatchewan.

  After falling behind 4-0 in the first period of a 7-4 loss in Saskatoon on Friday night, the Wheat Kings were hammered 6-1 by the Swift Current Broncos on Sunday.

  The Wheat Kings barely mustered an offensive attack in losing their fourth straight game and for the seventh time in eight contests.

  "We never played in their end at all," said Brandon assistant coach Darren Ritchie on CKLQ's post-game show, "The majority of the night where, we didn't have back-to-back shifts or even one shift of playing in their zone where you give yourself a chance to just get some momentum going your way.  We didn't do that all night and it's very disappointing."

  Graham Black had two goals and an assist for the Broncos while Colby Cave also scored twice for Swift Current while Eric Roy scored the lone goal for Brandon.

  The Wheat Kings were outshot 34-13 through two periods and 42-23 overall by a Swift Current team that had scored a combined 18 goals in their previous 11 games, winning just three of those contests.

  In addition, Swift Current was playing its third game in three nights after dropping both ends of a home-and-home series with Medicine Hat on Friday and Saturday.

  It was a situation Brandon, who were off on Saturday, should have been able to exploit.

  "It was real important to have a start and get in on the forecheck and make it hard on their defence and we didn't do anything like that at all," said Ritchie, "We turned the puck over and when you turn the puck over, you're just going to give the other team opportunities and playing in your end."

  Corbin Boes made his first start since suffering a knee injury and stopped 36 shots in the Wheat Kings' net while Eetu Laurikainen stopped 22 shots in the Swift Current goal.

  Brandon (21-37-3-2) remains last in the WHL's Eastern Conference standings and Ritchie worries that the team has become too complacent with losing.

  "I don't think we take the losses as hard as other people or as other teams.  You're coming here to play a game and there's two points up for grabs every night and they took the two points from you and you should be upset," said Ritchie, "We have a lot to learn in that category, from top-to-bottom.  That doesn't matter, it's the coaches, it's the players, you have to show that you care...just play the game the right way, play hard, come to the rink and care for your teammates and play the game the right way."

  Sunday's loss coupled with Kootenay's 2-0 victory in Lethbridge leaves the Wheat Kings almost officially eliminated from the playoff race.

  Brandon's next loss or Kootenay's next win will mathematically eliminate the Wheat Kings from post-season contention as the team is destined to miss the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.

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