JAMES O’CONNOR/BRANDON SUN
Brandon AAA Midget Wheat Kings Coltyn Bates gets grabbed by Kenora Thistles Dylan Gosselin-Archer as he tries to skate past Cody Kaus Sunday at the Sportsplex.
The Brandon Midget AAA Wheat Kings’ two-week break from games didn’t affect their play one bit.
The Wheat Kings dominated the first five periods of their best-of-five Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League quarter-final with the Kenora Thistles, as they took a 2-0 edge in the series. They capped their weekend success with a 4-2 win on Sunday at the Sportsplex, a game in which they outshot the Thistles 54-22.
"Obviously when you win your first two games in the playoffs, and we hadn’t played for a couple weeks, I was really pleased with our guys," said Wheat Kings head coach Ken Schneider. "They played hard both games. We put over 90 shots on goal in two games. Obviously we played a lot of hockey in their end of the rink."
The score in Sunday’s contest could have been a lot worse if not for Kenora goalie Scott Parsons, who stopped 40 shots in the first two periods. Kenora found life with a power-play marker five minutes into the third period and pushed the Wheaties after that.
Brandon Switzer played the role of hero as he gave Brandon a 3-1 lead when he cut past a defender and beat Parsons five-hole five minutes later, in what held up to be the game-winner. He also intercepted a pass to score an empty-net goal with 14 seconds left in the game.
Kenora’s third-period push, however, gives Switzer a few concerns as the series shifts to Kenora, Ont., on Friday and, if necessary, Saturday.
"(Parsons) is a great goalie and they both are really good," Switzer said. "They worked off that and that’s how they got back in the game. When they started coming, it was like OK, we need to pick it up a little bit more there."
Jordy Stallard and Braden Compton also scored for Brandon, while Tyler Gutenberg made 20 saves.
Switzer’s expecting a tough matchup in Kenora, especially since Davis Ross, Kenora’s top defenceman who missed these last two games with a concussion, may be back in the lineup and because Kenora’s a tough place to play.
"It feels really good to get the first two away, but we’re going back to their barn," he said. "It’s going to give them a little more momentum. If they get that first game on us, then that fourth game is going to be a battle. … Hopefully we’ll sneak out a win there and have it done with."
In Saturday’s series opener, Justin Holder stopped 17 shots as Brandon blanked Kenora 5-0. Switzer, Jordy Stallard, Tyler Coulter, Tanner Kaspick and Jordan Kaspick scored for the Wheaties.
In other action Sunday, it was: Winnipeg Thrashers 5, Southwest Cougars 3; and Pembina Valley Hawks 6, Yellowhead Chiefs 1.
Thrashers 5 Cougars 3
At Souris, Cameron Whyte scored two goals, while Zak Hicks added one goal and one assist for the Cougars, who now trail their best-of-five quarter-final 2-0. Game 3 will be played on Wednesday in Winnipeg.
Hawks 6 Chiefs 1
At Morden, St. Alphonse’s Colt Conrad scored one goal and set up two others as the Hawks grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-five quarter-final. Travis Sanheim replied for Yellowhead, which will host Game 3 on Tuesday in Shoal Lake.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 25, 2013