One of the top offensive defencemen in the Western Hockey League, Ryan Pulock had a big night on Saturday, even by his lofty standards.
The Brandon captain assisted on every Wheat Kings goal in a 5-2 victory over the Regina Pats at Westman Place.
Pulock's prime performance coincided with a strong effort from the Wheat Kings' specialty teams, which entered the game almong the WHL's worst, with Brandon scoring two goals on the power play and another immediately after a Regina penalty ended. The Wheat Kings only killed off two of three penalties against them but one was a Tyler Yaworski major that came at a key point in the game, with Brandon up by two in the second period.
"Our power play was clutch tonight. I think that was a big factor in the game," said Pulock, who leads the Wheat Kings with 37 points in 43 games after his career-high five-point night. "To score a few power-play goals was obviously nice but I think the biggest turning point in the game was killing off the five-minute major in the second period."
Jayce Hawryluk scored twice for the Wheat Kings (19-31-2-2), opening the scoring on the power play and finishing it with an empty-net goal. John Quenneville added a goal and an assist as the last-place Wheat Kings earned a split in the weekend home-and-home series, moving to within two points of the Pats (19-28-3-3). Marek Kalus and Eric Roy also scored for Brandon, while Curtis Honey earned the win with a solid 31-save outing.
The Wheat Kings took a 2-1 lead out of the first period and stretched it to 3-1 in the second period before Yaworski was ejected for hitting to the head. Brandon stymied the Regina power play, then added to their lead later in the frame as Quenneville hammered home a rebound for the Wheat Kings' second goal of the night with the man advantage.
Adam Brooks scored on a Regina power play in the third and the Pats pulled their goalie early to try and chip away at the lead, but Hawryluk, who left the game in the second period with an apparent ankle injury before returning for the final frame, made them play by netting his 15th goal of the season to grab a share of the team lead with Tim McGauley.
"Give the guys credit, we did a lot of good things tonight," Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said. "We were expecting Regina to have a push in the third period and we took a bad penalty. It was an undisciplined penalty and when you take those you're going to get scored on. I thought that after that we kinda got our heads on (straight). We needed a couple shifts to get back going again and I thought that we did the little things. We got pushed a little bit and it was good to see that we were able to come through with the victory."
ONE-TIMERS: Hawryluk's first-period tally gave him a hand in seven straight Wheat Kings goals (five goals, two assists). The streak was broken on the Kalus goal … Yaworski is facing a possible suspension for his hit that knocked Regina D Luke Fenske out of the game … Brandon scratched G Corbin Boes (knee, indefinite), LW/RW Richard Nejezchleb (hand, indefinite), C Tyrel Seaman (concussion, indefinite) and D Kord Pankewicz … Pats scratches included their captain, D Colton Jobke (knee) and RW Carson Samoridny (concussion) … Attendance was 3,656 … The victory opened a seven-game homestand for the Wheat Kings, who host the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday (7 p.m., Westman Place).