|Rihards Bukarts had a goal and an assist in his|
season debut for Brandon on Saturday.
Reid Duke had two goals and an assist to pace Brandon’s offence while Jordan Papirny made 23 saves in the Wheat Kings’ net.
Rihards Bukarts, who sat out Friday’s home opener because of the Wheat Kings’ 20-year old and import situation, drew into the lineup Saturday and scored the game’s opening goal 15:50 into the first period.
Colton Waltz added to the lead 7:11 into the second period, and Duke’s first of the game just over four minutes later gave Brandon a 3-0 advantage.
Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon felt getting the 2-0 lead put his team at ease.
“It knocked us out of the possibility of thinking that (Saturday’s) game was going to be like (Friday’s) game where we were outplaying our opponent and we able to build on a lead,” said McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “We talked at the intermission about the importance of making the game 2-0 and not 1-1, and I thought that was real key for us.”
The score remained 3-0 until Papirny was beaten for a power-play goal by Connor Chaulk with just 2:43 left in the third period.
Duke completed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 1:12 left in regulation.
Bukarts assisted on the final goal and finished with two points in his season debut.
“He’s dangerous with the puck all the time. Playing against him, you have to be respectful of him, you have to be aware of him at all times and he really opened up some ice,” said McCrimmon, “We put Duke in the middle there with Tim (McGauley) not playing with Bukarts and Shmyr on the wings and I thought their line had a strong game.”
The trio finished with a combined for five points and a +9 rating in the contest.
Brandon’s next game is Friday when they host the Calgary Hitmen in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).
Chaff...Tim McGauley, who was injured Friday, sat out Saturday’s game to end his consecutive games streak at 110. He’s expected to miss at least a couple of weeks with a shoulder injury...Jayce Hawryluk was in Brandon’s lineup Saturday, one day after being re-assigned to the team by the NHL’s Florida Panthers...Mark Matsuba (healthy), Dario Winkler (healthy) and John Quenneville (New Jersey, NHL) were Brandon’s other scratches...Dominic Thom drew into Brandon’s lineup in place of Matsuba on the Wheat Kings’ blueline...Brandon’s power-play was 0-for-6 for the second straight night, leaving them 0-for-12 on the season...former Wheat King Eric Roy has agreed to contract terms with the ECHL's Allen Americans, the defending Kelly Cup champions.