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Eric Roy #7, Jayce Hawryluk #8 and Rihards Bukarts #13 of the Brandon Wheat Kings celebrate a goal by Hawryluk during the second period in game two of the first round of the WHL playoffs against the Edmonton Oil Kings at Westman Place on Friday evening.

TIM SMITH | Enlarge

Eric Roy #7, Jayce Hawryluk #8 and Rihards Bukarts #13 of the Brandon Wheat Kings celebrate a goal by Hawryluk during the second period in game two of the first round of the WHL playoffs against the Edmonton Oil Kings at Westman Place on Friday evening.

Wheat Kings make themselves at home for Edmonton games

EDMONTON — The Brandon Wheat Kings will continue their first-round Western Hockey League playoff series on the road on Sunday, but several of their players feel right at home.

The Wheat Kings and Edmonton Oil Kings each have one win apiece in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final, heading into Game 3 ...

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  • Eric Roy #7, Jayce Hawryluk #8 and Rihards Bukarts #13 of the Brandon Wheat Kings celebrate a goal by Hawryluk during the second period in game two of the first round of the WHL playoffs against the Edmonton Oil Kings at Westman Place on Friday evening.

    Brandon blowout evens series

    Now that looked more like the team that finished on top of the Western Hockey League standings.

    The Brandon Wheat Kings, the Scotty Munro trophy winners in the regular season, pulled a complete 180 in the second game of their first-round playoff series with the Edmonton Oil Kings, bouncing back from their Game 1 defeat by pounding the defending champions 8-1 on Friday night at Westman Place.
     
    Tim McGauley and Jayce Hawryluk both scored twice for the Wheat Kings, with McGauley adding an assist. John Quenneville scored a goal for Brandon and set up three more.
     
    The best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final is headed to Edmonton for the next three games and Hawryluk said Friday’s win was a must.
     
    “We had to even up the series going there and come in with momentum,” said Hawryluk, whose team will play Game 3 on Sunday night (CKLQ, 6:30). “That’s a tough building to play in and we need to steal a couple wins there.”
     
    Eric Roy, Rihards Bukarts and Tyler Coulter also scored for the Wheat Kings, with Coulter’s goal coming only 36 seconds into the game.
     
    On Thursday, Brandon allowed a goal 11 seconds into its 4-1 loss and was never able to fully recover.
     
    “I think getting behind (Thursday) night so early in the game we lost a step,” Hawryluk said. “And tonight to get that momentum early on was huge.”
     
    There was more than the quick goal to Brandon’s start. After letting the Oil Kings take the game to them in the opener, the Wheat Kings did the complete opposite on Friday, with Bukarts and Peter Quenneville both throwing hard bodychecks on Edmonton defencemen in the offensive zone in the first few shifts.
     
    “We were more engaged,” Wheat Kings head coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “We worked harder. We got the hits. Last night we never got the hits to speak of with any regularity at all. Tonight I thought guys were determined and had more urgency to their game, which is what you need at playoff time.”
     
    As lopsided as the final score was, the game remained close for a relatively long time.
     
    Edmonton very nearly tied the game on a 2-on-1 late in the first, but Brandon netminder Jordan Papirny stretched across the crease to rob Cole Benson with a glove save on his way to a 33-stop night.
     
    “Jordan Papirny had the best save of the series on the 2-on-1 where Benson had a great look,” McCrimmon said. “You forget those in 8-1 games, but really important and … when we’re trying to respond from a loss the night before, those early saves were really critical.”
     
    The Wheat Kings’ power play was explosive, going 3-for-6, while the penalty killers also played an underrated role, stymieing the Oil Kings on all six of their chances.
     
    Hawryluk, with a power-play goal, and Bukarts gave Brandon some breathing room in the second period.
     
    The Wheat Kings stormed out with four straight goals to start the third, chasing Edmonton starter Tristan Jarry after five goals on 29 shots. His replacement, Tyler Dea, stopped a Hawryluk penalty shot right after entering the game but was also beaten for three goals on 12 shots.
     
    Tyler Robertson ruined Papirny’s shutout bid before McGauley netted a late goal to wrap up the scoring.
     
    As much success as the Wheat Kings had on Friday night, McCrimmon said they’ve got to remain mindful of how dangerous their opponent can be when they play Game 3.
     
    “Obviously, Game 3’s a new game,” McCrimmon said. “You’ve gotta start back at zero and you sometimes in these situations hope you didn’t use some (goals) up tonight that you’ll need on Sunday, which we know we’re going to be playing a tough team in their building.”
     
    ONE-TIMERS: Attendance was 4,102 … After playing forward in Game 1, Wheat King Kale Clague moved back to defence on Friday … The teams dressed the same lineups as Game 1, with Brandon scratching C/RW Reid Duke, C Duncan Campbell, C/LW Tanner Kaspick, LW Quintin Lisoway and D Mark Taraschuk … Edmonton’s scratches were D Jake Kolhauser, D Chance Patterson, LW Garan Magnes and RW Tyson Gruninger.        
     
    » rhenders@brandonsun.com
    » Twitter: @HendoRob

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