Thursday, 6 February 2014

Wheat Kings Offense Grounded

Richard Nejezchleb snapped a
six-game goalless streak
  It's not often the Brandon Wheat Kings have trouble creating offense, but that was the case Wednesday night in a 3-2 loss to the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

  The Wheat Kings generated just 23 shots on goal, their second lowest total of the season, and never led in the contest.

  "I don't think we got pucks behind as much as we could have.  Our coaching staff really stressed getting the pucks behind the D and getting in on the forecheck and then putting pucks on net, and I don't think we did enough of that," said Brandon centre Ryley Lindgren on CKLQ's post-game show, "They have a good goaltender and I don't think we tested him enough and I think if we did that, it might have been a different outcome."

  Cole Sanford opened the scoring for Medicine Hat just over six minutes into the first period, with Brandon tying the game on a Richard Nejezchleb power-play goal at the 11:30 mark.

  That goal broke a six-game goalless drought for Nejezchleb, and was just his third in the last 11 games.

  Medicine Hat's Trevor Cox scored the only goal of the second period to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead, and then Cox notched his second of the game just 19 seconds into the third period to make it 3-1.

  Jayce Hawryluk got Brandon to within a goal at 6:03 of the final frame but the Wheat Kings couldn't produce the equalizer despite having a pair of power-play chances in the final 10:44 of the third period.

  "I'm also a very strong proponent of measuring power-play opportunities when they're really at key times of the game," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "For me, there's a big difference tonight in the third period with two opportunities where we don't score.  I think that really hurt our team."

  Jordan Papirny stopped 26 shots in suffering his first loss in a starting assignment since December 6th, while Marek Langhamer made 21 saves in the Medicine Hat goal.

  Brandon remains tied with Swift Current for first-place in the East Division and drops five points behind the Tigers for fourth-place in the Eastern Conference.

  The Wheat Kings will host the Broncos on Friday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...Medicine Hat's top line of Curtis Valk, Trevor Cox and Cole Sanford combined for three goals and four assists...Brandon went 1-for-4 on the power-play, giving the team at least one power-play goal in ten consecutive games...Peter Quenneville's eight-game point scoring streak came to an end Wednesday while Rihards Bukarts extended his streak to seven straight games...attendance was 2,825, the smallest crowd of the season.

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