Saturday, 2 May 2015

Wheat Kings Off to WHL Final

  The Brandon Wheat Kings have advanced to the Western Hockey League for the first time in a decade.

  Jayce Hawryluk had two goals and two assists to pace the Wheat Kings to an 8-2 victory over Calgary on Friday night, allowing Brandon to win the Eastern Conference Final four games to one.

  The Wheat Kings trailed 1-0 after the first period after Pavel Karnaukhov scored a power-play goal with 2:38 left in the opening period, but responded with five goals in the second period...all of them coming in a span of six minutes and 48 seconds.

  Eric Roy tied the game 8:35 into the middle frame before Ryan Pilon gave Brandon their first lead 1:06 later and Nolan Patrick scored Brandon's third goal just ten seconds after the Pilon marker.

  "We regrouped in the first intermission and we came out in the second, and I got a huge goal there and really got the crowd into the game and we never looked back from there," said Roy on CKLQ's post-game show, "We just played our game, played a simple  game and kept throwing pucks at the net.  We knew how shaky their goaltending was and we threw pucks at the net and they went in for us."

  "Even at the start of the second I thought we had way better energy and played way better and then Eric scored and gave our crowd something to cheer about," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "Then a real solid second period after that."

  Hawryluk and John Quenneville added power-play goals for Brandon before Adam Tambellini stemmed the tide slightly with Calgary's second goal with 3:35 left in the second period.

  Hawryluk, Quenneville and Tim McGauley then added third period goals for the Wheat Kings.

  Jordan Papirny finished with 31 saves in the Brandon net including 17 in the first period, when the Hitmen had the better of the scoring chances but could only beat the Edmonton product the single time.

  Brandon will now face either Portland or Kelowna in the WHL Final.

  "It feels really good.  Being here for five years, it's a huge opportunity.  I can't thank my teammates or (Kelly McCrimmon) enough for keeping me here for five years," said Roy, "Looking forward to the opportunity and I can't wait to start."

  The Wheat Kings will host the opening two games of the League Final next Friday (May 8) and Saturday (May 9) at Westman Communications Group Place.

  Tickets for those two games will go on sale Monday morning at the Keystone Centre box office.

Chaff...Brandon was 2-for-3 on the power-play Friday, leaving them 8-for-20 (40.0%) in the series...the Wheat Kings' lineup was unchanged, with Brandon scratching D Kale Clague, F Tanner Kaspick, F Reid Duke, F Quintin Lisoway, F Ty Lewis, D Mark Taraschuk and G Logan Thompson...the Pilon and Patrick goals 10 seconds apart in the second were four seconds shy of the WHL and Wheat Kings' record sent on April 24, 1979 when Brad McCrimmon and Laurie Boschman scored six seconds apart in a playoff game vs. Lethbridge...Tyson Baillie scored 14:55 into overtime Friday as Kelowna beat Portland 2-1 to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference Final.  Game #6 is Sunday in Portland.

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