Thursday, 12 May 2016

Wheat Kings Stumble, Fall to T-Birds

Alexander True had two goals and an assist for the
Thunderbirds on Wednesday.
  The Brandon Wheat Kings stumbled in their opportunity to clinch the Western Hockey League title on Wednesday night.

  Alexander True had two goals and an assist for the Thunderbirds as they got their first win of the series in Game Four of the WHL Championship Series.

  Ryan Gropp also scored twice for the Thunderbirds while Ethan Bear and Donovan Neuls had the other Seattle goals.

  “Their backs were against the wall and they just came out and played hard,” said Brandon centre Tim McGauley, “We didn’t match their intensity...we have to be better.”

  Jayce Hawryluk scored the lone goal for Brandon, breaking Landon Bow’s shutout bid with a power-play goal with 2:14 left in the third period with his team already trailing 6-0.

  The Thunderbirds blew open a 1-0 game when True scored back-to-back goals 2:14 apart just before the midway mark of the second period.

  Gropp put any thoughts of a third period comeback out of Brandon’s minds when he made it 4-0 at the 9:22 mark of the third period.

  “We just didn’t play to our strengths, play to our game.  We didn’t get pucks in deep and just didn’t play hard enough.  On Friday, we just have to bring our ‘A’ game and just play well.”

  Bear and Neuls added power-play goals later in the period after the Wheat Kings became frustrated and unravelled, taking five minors in the final half of the third period.

  Brandon will look to claim their first WHL title in 20 years again on Friday when Game Five goes at the ShoWare Center.

  “I think we just have to turn the page, re-group and be ready for Friday.” said Brandon captain Macoy Erkamps.

Chaff...Wednesday’s game was the first time in over 11 years that the Wheat Kings had failed to win a series clinching game.  They had gone 14-0 since losing Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final against Prince Albert in 2005...Brandon dressed the same lineup for the 14th straight game, scratching F Garrett Armour, F/D Mark Matsuba and F Caiden Daley...Hawryluk’s goal ended an 0-for-15 slump for the Wheat Kings on the man advantage...attendance Wednesday was 5,373...Brandon University alumnus Mike Johnston is back with the Portland Winterhawks, being re-introduced as Portland’s Vice-President, General Manager and Head Coach on Wednesday.

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