|Jordan Papirny stopped 214 of 233 shots in the series.|
The Brandon Wheat Kings’ season came to an end in, basically, 128 seconds on Friday night.
The Edmonton Oil Kings blew open a 0-0 game by scoring three times in a two minute and eight second span late in the first period, with Henrik Samuelsson, Brett Pollock and Reid Petryk doing the damage for Edmonton.
The victory gave the Oil Kings a four games to one victory in the Eastern Conference semifinal series and ended Brandon’s 2013-2014 season.
The Wheat Kings started the game well enough and were outshooting Edmonton 6-5 at the marketing timeout with 8:28 left in the opening frame.
Brandon then killed off a Taylor Green penalty immediately after the break, but things unravelled from there.
“The second half of the first period, we just weren’t good enough. They scored, but it wasn’t the first goal, it was our response to the first goal that hurt us,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “All of the sudden, it’s three goals in two minutes and eight seconds. That was the tale of the tape, we chased the game the rest of the night.”
The score remained 3-0 until early in the third period when Eric Roy gave the Wheat Kings some life with a 5-on-3 power-play goal 2:55 into the final frame but Brandon couldn’t get any closer.
“Had some more good looks on the remaining 5-on-4 power-play. If we could have continued to keep them from scoring, then you’re fighting to get the second one and all of the sudden make it a one-goal game,” said McCrimmon, “If got away from us, gave up the fourth goal, and that really hurt us.”
Cody Corbett and Mitch Moroz tallied Edmonton’s final two goals while Tristan Jarry stopped 19 shots in the Oil Kings’ net.
Jordan Papirny stopped 33 shots to finish the five-game series with 214 saves.
Despite the second round exit, one would likely consider Brandon’s 2013-14 campaign a success.
The team rebounded from a 24-win season and 12th-place finish in 2012-2013 to make the post-season and play into the second round.
The experience gained by a team that includes 19 first or second-year players should prove to be invaluable down the road.
“I’m a big proponent of playoff experience making players better,” said McCrimmon, “Over the years, some of the real good teams we’ve had that have had real deep runs, those players become better players and they learn what it takes.”
While the Wheat Kings’ season ended Friday, the year could continue for three players.
Captain Ryan Pulock, the Islanders first round pick in 2013, could be asked to join New York’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport for the rest of their season while sources told me that John Quenneville and Jayce Hawryluk may be asked to join Canada’s team for the World Under-18 Hockey Championship that begins in Finland next week.
The injury that sidelined Hawryluk for Game Five on Friday night could complicate his ability to answer Hockey Canada’s call.
|20-year olds Jens Meilleur (left), Rene Hunter (centre) and Chad Robinson (right) all played their final WHL games Friday|