Sunday, 15 November 2015

Special Teams Costly as Wheat Kings Fall to Raiders

  The Brandon Wheat Kings' special teams continue to be anything but, and it cost them in a 3-2 loss to Prince Albert on Sunday.

  The Wheat Kings went 0-for-5 on the power-play in their loss to the Raiders and allowed Reid Gardiner to score the go-ahead and game-winning goal shorthanded with just over seven minutes left in the third period.

  It was Gardiner's second goal of the game, and was the exclamation mark on a Brandon power-play that went 0-for-5 on night including two chances with the game tied in the third period.

  "For me, I'm always a big believer that you really can measure your special teams in critical moments," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game show, "For us to go on the power-play in the second half of the third period in a tie game and lose the game in that situation, that's sure not performance from our group."

  The Wheat Kings also gave up a power-play goal against and are now ranked 21st in the WHL in penalty-killing (72.1%) and 18th in power-play success rate (16.5%).

  In fact, ten of Brandon's 15 power-play goals this season were scored in a three-game span in early October, leaving Brandon 5-for-72 in their other 18 games this season (6.9%).

  "We're moving the puck around alright, we're getting the puck around the outside but that's the bottom line, it's on the outside," said Brandon's John Quenneville, "We need to get pucks to the middle of the ice, we need to get pucks to the net, we need to start getting rebounds and dirty goals.  When you get pucks to the net and you're getting second chances in front, it opens up the other lanes, the lanes through the middle of the ice for one-timers and the prettier plays.  We need to get pucks to the net, we need to jam the net and we need to get hard to the net if we want to score goals on the power-play."

  Luke Coleman and Gardiner scored in the game's first nine minutes to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead, the fifth straight game and eighth time in ten games the Wheat Kings have given up the opening goal of a contest.

  Luke Harrison scored late in the first period and Kale Clague scored just before the eight minute mark of the second period to help the Wheat Kings erase that early 2-0 deficit.

  Ian Scott stopped 33 shots in the Prince Albert net while Jordan Papirny faced just 19 shots in goal for Brandon.

  The loss leaves the Wheat Kings (12-7-0-2) three points behind the front-running Raiders (13-5-2-1) in the East Division.

  Brandon will continue their home stand Wednesday, hosting the Medicine Hat Tigers (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...Sunday's game was the 123rd for Jordan Papirny, moving him in 7th-place on the Wheat Kings' all-time list for games played by a goaltender...Brandon scratched F Garrett Armour (healthy), D Mark Matsuba (lower body), F Tim McGauley (upper body) and F Braylon Shmyr (upper body)...Brandon F Jayce Hawryluk was pointless Sunday, leaving him still four points shy of 200 for his WHL career...the victory improved the Raiders' record in one-goal games this season to 7-0-1-2...attendance was 3,237.

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