The Brandon Wheat Kings waited until the last minute to extend their mastery of the Moose Jaw Warriors this season.
Ryan Pulock scored the tying goal with 16 seconds left in the third period, and Taylor Cooper netted the winning goal in overtime as the visiting Wheat Kings slipped by the Warriors 3-2, running their record to 4-0 against Moose Jaw this season.
"I thought we persevered pretty well," Wheat Kings head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. "We’ve been in quite a few games like this, really now over the course of the season, and I think guys are learning."
Cooper scored two goals on the night and has six goals this season —all of them against the Warriors. Curtis Honey made 30 saves as the Wheat Kings (6-5-0-0) snapped a two-game skid and moved into a tie for fourth place in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference with the Red Deer Rebels.
Second-period goals by Bryson Gore and Jack Rodewald put the Warriors (4-5-1-2) ahead before the Wheat Kings’ late rally extended Moose Jaw’s losing streak to five games.
The teams skated through a scoreless first period, but it took a couple of big saves early by Honey to do it as he stopped Warriors snipers Todd Fiddler and Sam Fioretti on breakaways, while Pulock fired a shot off the post for the Wheat Kings.
"Curtis was good tonight," McCrimmon said. "He made some key saves. I didn’t think our team was as good defensively as we’ve been, and some of the chances that we gave up required real good saves by Curtis. So he was good for us early, and again, when you’re down 2-1 after two and you’re looking to come back in the game, you’re going to need some saves in the third period. We had two penalty kills in the third period and obviously for our penalty kill to be successful, he’s part of that as well."
Moose Jaw broke through on a second-period power play as Gore scored on his own rebound on a cross-crease feed from Fiddler.
The Wheat Kings tied it up as Cooper scored on the rebound of Chad Robinson’s shot, and Brandon nearly took the lead shortly afterward, but Richard Nejezchleb’s shot hit both the goal-post and the crossbar.
Instead, it was Moose Jaw that would score next. Defenceman Travis Brown knocked down two Brandon attempts to clear the zone and the puck found its way to Torrin White, who set up Rodewald at the side of the Wheat Kings’ net.
The Warriors hung on to that lead until the dying seconds when Pulock collected a pass from Eric Roy, stepped around a diving Warrior, and snapped a shot past Moose Jaw goalie Justin Paulic, who had a 34-save game.
The Wheat Kings had the only two shots of overtime, clinching the victory when John Quenneville put the puck on net on the rush, and Cooper charged to the crease, chipping the rebound past Paulic.
Both of Cooper’s goals came from going to the net and McCrimmon said that’s what the Wheat Kings need to do to produce goals five-on-five.
"You have to pay a price to score," he said. "We’ve got some guys with some skill that are going to score some real nice goals over the course of the year as well, but you can’t rely on highlight-reel-type goals or breakaways or power play goals to carry you offensively."
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon was 0-for-2 on the power play, while Moose Jaw was 1-for-5 … D Taylor Green assisted on the OT winner for his first point as a Wheat King … Brandon D Eric Roy played his 200th career WHL game on Wednesday … The Wheat Kings scratched LW Jack Palmer (upper body, day-to-day), LW Tyler Coulter, RW Braylon Shmyr, D Kord Pankewicz and D Dominic Thom … During the CKLQ broadcast the pink jersey that C Chad Robinson will wear in Saturday’s Pink the Rink game against Medicine Hat (7:30 p.m., Westman Place) was auctioned off for $1,200, with proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society … Medicine Hat has entered the Canadian Hockey League top-10 rankings in the fifth spot … Vancouver has acquired 6-foot-3 RW Trent Lofthouse, 19, from Victoria for an eighth-round pick in next year’s WHL bantam draft.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 17, 2013