The Brandon Wheat Kings got a monkey off their backs on Saturday night.
The Wheat Kings scored three unanswered goals in the third period of a 5-2 Western Hockey League victory over the Prince Albert Raiders at Westman Place. It was Brandon's first win in five tries against Prince Albert this season, including a 4-3 setback at the hands of their East Division rival only one night earlier, and put the sixth-place Wheat Kings four points ahead of the Raiders in the Eastern Conference standings.
"We never want to lose on home ice once, let alone twice in a row," Wheat Kings head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. "The standings are critical for us. You can't take many nights off, and when we talked about it during the week, drawing parallels of a playoff series, it's no different; if you lose game one, you need to respond to win game two, which was good experience for us tonight in that regard as well."
John Quenneville led the charge for the Wheat Kings (23-17-4-0) with two goals, including the winner, and an assist. Rookie Jesse Gabrielle added a goal and an assist, while Eric Roy and Rihards Bukarts also scored for Brandon.
Josh Morrissey scored for the Raiders (22-19-2-0) and set up Brandonite Carson Perreaux for Prince Albert's other goal.
After making it out of the first period with the game scoreless despite being outshot 15-4, the Raiders held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the second period, before Roy joined the rush and knotted the score 2-2 late in the frame. The Brandon blue-liner had been in the penalty box for Perreaux's go-ahead goal, with the teams playing with four skaters aside, after he jumped to Quenneville's defence following a hit by Raider Reid Gardiner. Roy said he felt like he had to make amends to his team.
"I think we had to press for offence," Roy said. "We were down 2-1 and I took kind of a stupid penalty there, but I got the boys fired up with the goal."
A Quenneville one-timer midway through the third period put Brandon ahead for the first time, and the Wheat Kings built on the momentum, with Gabrielle and Bukarts adding insurance markers in the next 3:19.
"The power play's a game-changing opportunity," said Quenneville, whose team was 1-for-2 on the power play after being shut out on five Friday opportunities. "We've always been good on our power play this year at home, and I think it was just a matter of time before we were to get a goal on the power play."
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon D Taylor Green had two assists for the first multi-point game of his career … Wheat Kings G Jordan Papirny made 23 saves, while Raiders G Cole Cheveldave stopped 37 shots … Quenneville has scored five times on a three-game goal streak. His Friday game was upgraded to a two-goal performance as he was later awarded the late-game goal that was originally credited to D Ryan Pulock … Six of Perreaux's 14 goals this season have come against Brandon … Attendance was 3,409 … The Wheat Kings scratched D Kord Pankewicz, LW Brett Kitt and LW Braylon Shmyr … Brandon is 3-1 on its five-game home stand, which wraps up Friday against the East Division-leading Swift Current Broncos.