Saturday, 25 April 2015

Wheat Kings Win Opening Game

Braylon Shmyr
  John Quenneville had two goals and three assists to pace the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 9-4 win over the Calgary Hitmen Friday night in the opening game of the WHL's Eastern Conference Final.

  Braylon Shmyr added a pair of goals for the Wheat Kings, the first two goals of his WHL playoff career.

  "Our team played well in the first period, just to get that lead to setus up for the whole game," said Shmyr on CKLQ's post-game show, "We kind of let up there but we always have to play that full 60 minutes."

  After jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Jayce Hawryluk and Quenneville in the opening 7:39, the Wheat Kings allowed the next two goals, leaving the game tied 2-2 nearing the midway mark of the second period.

  Peter Quenneville's power-play goal 9:02 into the middle frame restored Brandon's lead and the Wheat Kings then delivered a knockout blow when Shmyr and Nolan Patrick scored 22 seconds apart at 12:17 and 12:39 to make it 5-2.

  Tim McGauley added a goal and two assists for Brandon with Morgan Klimchuk also scoring and Rihards Bukarts and Eric Roy chipping in with three assists each.

  It was a bit of a sloppy game for both teams throughout, perhaps a testament to the week both teams had off after finishing their second round series last Friday.

  "We saw this a little bit in Game #1 against Regina where both teams showed some rust after that layoff, so I don't know if that's part of it.  I expect our team to be much better (Saturday)," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "Pretty uncommon you get a game like this in the third round of the playoffs, winning a game by five goals.  If you look at the ten we had played (up until tonight), six of them finished 3-2 to this one was definitely not expected."

  Both teams lost players during the course of the contest, with Kale Clague and Tanner Kaspick both leaving the game for Brandon and Hitmen forward Chase Lang being helped to the Calgary dressing room during the third period with an apparent leg injury.

  The game also featured an ejection for Calgary coach Mark French, who was tossed from the game 5:11 into the third period after a verbal dressing down of the officials and ended with a stick tossed onto the ice.

  That'll likely net at least a fine for French, along with the unlikely possibility of a suspension from the WHL office.

Chaff...Quenneville's five points tied a career-high for the New Jersey Devils' draft pick...Hawryluk and Bukarts both extended their point-scoring streaks to seven games...it was Brandon's first nine-goal playoff game since April 2, 2005 at Moose Jaw...Brandon's scratches included F Reid Duke, F Quintin Lisoway, F Stelio Mattheos, F Ty Lewis, D Mark Matsuba, D Mark Taraschuk and G Logan Thompson...Jackson Whistle's 30 saves led Kelowna past Portland 3-2 on Friday in Game #1 of the WHL's Western Conference Final...Canada plays the United States Saturday in semifinal action at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship.

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