Sunday, 12 April 2015

Special Teams Key Wheat Kings' Win

Jayce Hawryluk extended his point-streak to
six games on Saturday.
  The Brandon Wheat Kings grabbed a two games to none lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series Saturday night with a 5-2 victory over the Regina Pats.

  Ivan Provorov and Kale Clague had a goal and an assist each for the Wheat Kings, with Clague's goal and points the first in his WHL playoff career.

  "Going into the game, we looked over some things that we didn't do as well (Friday) night but our team felt good about tonight going in," said Clague on CKLQ's post-game show, "I felt like we had a strong game as a group and executed on our chances and got the job done."

  Special teams played a big part in Saturday's contest, with the Wheat Kings scoring three power-play goals while Regina got both of their goals with the man advantage.

  In addition, Tyler Coulter opened the scoring four minutes into the first period with a shorthanded goal, Brandon's first of the post-season.

  "Every goal was a big goal.  Coulter a great effort to get us on the board and give us the lead and then right down to the fifth goal to give us that cushion with the one-timer by Kale Clague on the power-play to give us the 5-2 lead," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "Timely goals on offence tonight on our special teams."

  Ironically, it the game's only even-strength goal that may have been the key one in the contest.

  The Pats had cut Brandon's lead to 3-2 and had the momentum late in the second period before Macoy Erkamps scored with 2.5 seconds left in the middle frame to give Brandon their third two-goal lead of the night.

  "It restored the two-goal lead but I think as importantly, it gave us momentum going into the break," said McCrimmon, "I think our second period had been fine, but then double-minor, a penalty to put us down 5-on-3 and a goal against and all of a sudden the momentum really had gone Regina's way so a real good goal by Erkamps late in the second to give us the 4-2 lead going into the break."

  Jayce Hawryluk also scored for Brandon while Rihards Bukarts chipped in with three assists, all of which came on the Wheat Kings' three power-play goals in the contest.

  Colby Williams and Pavel Padakin scored the Pats' goals while Daniel Wapple made 36 saves in the Regina net.

  Hawryluk left the game late in the third period after a blindside hit from Regina defenceman Sergey Zborovskiy.

  The Pats' blueliner was given an interference major on the play and could be facing a possible suspension from the WHL.

  In addition, Brandon lost defenceman Colton Waltz late in the first period with what appeared to be a lower body injury.

  The series will now shifts to Regina for Games #3 and #4 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Chaff...F Morgan Klimchuk (undisclosed) missed his fourth straight game for Brandon while the Wheat Kings also scratched D Mark Taraschuk, D Mark Matsuba, F Stelio Mattheos, F Quintin Lisoway and G Logan Thompson...the Wheat Kings Saturday's attendance was 4,752 giving the Wheat Kings just under 10,000 fans for their two homes games this weekend...former Wheat Kings' captain Mark Stone scored twice for Ottawa Saturday, helping the Sens qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 3-1 win over Philadelphia.  Stone ended the NHL's regular season on a nine-game point streak (8 G, 10 A) and finished tied for the NHL rookie scoring lead with 64 points (26 G, 38 A)...other WHL playoff results Saturday saw Tyson Baillie score 58 seconds into overtime as Kelowna beat Victoria 4-3 to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal while Oliver Bjorkstrand scored 29 seconds into the second overtime period to lift Portland past Everett 4-3 and tie that series 1-1...the other Eastern Conference semifinal resumes Sunday in Calgary as the Hitmen host Medicine Hat.  Calgary leads that series 1-0.

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