|Jordan Papirny made 31 saves Saturday.|
Morgan Klimchuk, Nolan Patrick and Tim McGauley all had a goal and an assist each for Brandon while Jordan Papirny made 31 saves in the Wheat Kings’ net including 11 in the opening 20 minutes when Brandon was outshot 11-2 by the Ice.
“Papirny was the difference in the hockey game. If he wasn’t as good as he was in the first period, we don’t need to talk about the second and third periods,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “I thought in the second and the third, we were better for sure.”
McGauley scored the only goal of the first period, scoring 7:23 into the opening frame to give him a two-game ‘natural hat-trick’ after the third-year centre scored the final two goals in Friday’s victory.
Patrick re-directed a Klimchuk shot in the second period for the only goal of the middle frame, with Brandon extending their lead to 3-0 on Klimchuk’s power-play goal 6:49 into the third period.
Zak Zborosky got Kootenay on the board just 29 seconds after the Klimchuk goal, with Reid Duke completing the scoring for the night with Brandon’s second power-play goal with 7:21 left in the contest.
The Wheat Kings not only scored two power-play goals but were a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty-kill including one minutes and 11 seconds of a 5-on-3 kill in the second period and a four-minute kill after Reid Duke’s high-sticking penalty that overlapped between the second and third periods.
“Really big kills. 5-on-3 with the personnel that they can put on the ice, that’s a real tough test for your team,” said McCrimmon, “I thought we had real good competitiveness on our kill. Give our guys credit for blocking shots and winning battles.”
It’s the first time Brandon has hit the 40-win mark in a season since the 2009-2010 season, but it’s the sixth time in nine full seasons with McCrimmon behind the bench that the Wheat Kings have hit that plateau.
|Reid Gow collected his 150th career point Saturday.|
“40 wins has always been a benchmark for success in the league and it’s one we always strive for every year.,” said McCrimmon, “We’ve been fortunately over many years that we’ve got there more often than not, and now we want to get to work on #41 and, hopefully, get past 50 before we’re done.”
The victory coupled with Medicine Hat’s 4-1 home-ice loss to Lethbridge on Saturday gives the Wheat Kings a 12-point lead over the second-place Tigers in the Eastern Conference and leaves Brandon still one point behind Kelowna for first-place overall.
The Wheat Kings will conclude their four-game road trip by visiting the Hurricanes on Sunday (4:30 p.m., 880 CKLQ).
Chaff...Brandon D Ivan Provorov left the game early in the third period with an apparent upper body injury and did not return...the Wheat Kings scratched F Jayce Hawryluk (upper body), F John Quenneville (upper body), G Alex Moodie (upper body), D Mark Matsuba (healthy) and D Mark Taraschuk (healthy)...Reid Gow assisted on Patrick’s second period goal for his 150th career WHL point...Brandon is now 16-3-0-0 against Central Division teams this season including an 8-3-0-0 recordon the road.