CHARLES TWEED/BRANDON SUN
Brandon Wheat Kings goaltender Corbin Boes and defenceman Ayrton Nikkel watch the puck, just out of the reach of Tri-City Americans forward Lucas Nickles on Saturday night at Westman Place. The Americans won 4-3.
The Brandon Wheat Kings hope their next two weeks on the road go better than their last two weeks at home.
The Wheat Kings leave today on their annual West Coast road trip after dropping a 4-3 decision to the Tri-City Americans in Western Hockey League action on Saturday night at Westman Place that left Brandon 1-2-1-0 on a four-game homestand.
Despite being outshot 20-10 at one point in the second period, the Wheat Kings tied the game 1-1 on an Alessio Bertaggia marker, but sloppy Brandon defence allowed the Americans to score the go-ahead goal just 29 seconds later before tacking on two more early in the third.
"The mental lapses that we’ve been having as of late have been costing us goals against and chances against that lead to momentum for the other team," said Wheat Kings forward Tyrel Seaman, who had an assist.
"We’ve got to tighten up mentally and keep more focused from the start of the games."
Bertaggia finished with two highlight-reel goals — one a tap-in on a nice setup from rookie Tim McGauley, the other on a breakaway after Jens Meilleur’s long lead pass — and also assisted on Ryan Pulock’s power-play goal with 34 seconds left in the game. The big night snapped a four-game skid without a point for Bertaggia, but the Swiss winger was not in the mood to celebrate.
"I tried to step up tonight and show (the team) that I can still do something and try to carry them to victory, but it didn’t work out," said Bertaggia, whose team fell to 5-3-1-0 on the season.
"So I’m going to try harder next game and I think everybody will try harder."
Parker Bowles, Connor Rankin, Lucas Nickles and Lukas Walter scored for the Americans (5-3-0-1), who were playing the first game of their East Division road trip.
After scoring 24 goals in their first four games of the season, the Wheat Kings have tallied only nine in the five games since then. Pulock’s goal was the Wheat Kings’ first in their last 11 power-play chances and the club has scored only twice in its last 27 power plays.
Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said if the Wheat Kings can start producing with the man advantage again, it will help them to get their attack back on track.
"We’ve just got to execute," he said.
"We’re not getting the results from (the power play), so right away guys get frustrated. We started squeezing our sticks a little bit and I think we’ve just got to go back to basics. … The bottom line is we’ve go to get shots and pucks and people to the net."
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while Tri-City was 1-for-3 … Wheat Kings G Corbin Boes made 33 saves, five more than Americans G Eric Comrie … Attendance was 4,009 … Brandon scratched C/RW Daniel Asham (flu), D Rene Hunter, C/LW Kord Pankewicz, C/LW Quintin Lisoway and D Riley Van Horne … The Wheat Kings play the first of seven games on their road trip Tuesday (7:30 p.m., CKLQ) against the Medicine Hat Tigers … D Brett Skinner, a Brandonite, has joined the Central Hockey League’s Allen Americans.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 15, 2012