Saturday, 22 February 2014

Wheat Kings' Comeback Falls Short

Jayce Hawryluk had a goal and an assist
in his return to Brandon's lineup Friday
  The Brandon Wheat Kings' comeback attempt came up just short in a 5-4 loss to the Calgary Hitmen on Friday night.

  Jake Virtanen had a goal and two assists to pace the Hitmen offensively, while Jayce Hawryluk had a goal and an assist in his return to the Brandon lineup.

  Brandon trailed 2-0 and 3-1 at the period breaks before coming alive in the third period, outshooting Calgary 17-13 while closing to within a goal three times without ever getting the equalizing goal.

  "Our compete level was higher for sure.  I think we realized that we're just as good as this team out here, and if we work hard we can create chances," said Hawryluk on CKLQ's post-game show, "We did that, and it was a battle until the end."

  Jesse Gabrielle, Quintin Lisoway and Ryan Pulock also scored for the Wheat Kings while Jordan Papirny stopped 39 shots in the Brandon net.

  The loss extended Brandon's winless streak to eight games, but if the third period was any indication, the team looks poisted to break out of their slump in the near future.

  "If you can start the game with some energy, even if you get some stretches in the game that don't go as well as you need to, I think you've always got a game to come back to," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "I thought that was the case tonight in the third.  Guys played really hard, and that part I don't think our guys can be faulted in any way."

  The loss leaves Brandon just two points ahead of Prince Albert and Red Deer for the final two playoff spots in the WHL's Eastern Conference.

  The Wheat Kings continue their home stand by hosting the Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

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