Thursday, 20 February 2014

Poor Start Hurt Wheat Kings

A second period scramble around he Wheat Kings' goal
on Wednesday night
  The Victoria Royals jumped out to a 4-1 first period lead and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings Wednesday night.

  Ryan Pulock, Tyler Coulter and Rihards Bukarts did the goal-scoring for Brandon while Curtis Honey stopped 44 shots in the Wheat Kings' net.

  Pulock opened the scoring 4:42 into the opening period, but the lead was short-lived as Logan Nelson scored just 16 seconds later to even the game 1-1.

  That seemed to take some air out of the Wheat Kings' balloon, and Victoria padded their lead with three more goals in the first period and outshot the Whaet Kings 21-6 in the opening 20 minutes.

  Injuries and a suspension meant Brandon dressed 16 skaters last night and GM/Coach Kelly
McCrimmon said on CKLQ's post-game show that the slow start may be attributed to a lack of belief.

  "I don't know if that's a reflection of guys not fully believing that we can get the job done going into the game, if that's why we're a little bit hesitant starting out," said McCrimmon, "For me, we're in our building and I expect to win every single time that we play here, and I expect to have energy to start the game."

  Steven Hodges had a goal and two assists for Victoria, who outshot Brandon 49-26 overall.

  Tyler Soy, Keagan Kanzig and Austin Carroll also scored for the Royals while Patrik Polivka made 23 saves in the Victoria net.

  The victory was the Royals' seventh in a row, eighth straight on the road and left them unbeaten in regulation in 14 straight games (12-0-1-1).

  The loss leaves Brandon (28-25-6-2) winless in their last seven games, and leaves the Wheat Kings seventh in the Eastern Conference, just four points ahead of both Red Deer and Prince Albert.

  "We just have to continue to stay together and work our way out of it," said McCrimmon, "These type of challenges make it hard on people.  You can't give in, you have to keep pressing forward and looking for ways to win, and that's what we expect to do."

  Brandon returns to action Friday night, hosting the Calgary Hitmen (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...Bukarts extended his point-streak to nine games with his third period power-play goal (7 G, 5 A)...Brandon F Richard Nejezchleb played sparingly in the second period before leaving the game for good in the second intermission...attendance was a season-low 2,702.

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