A bad break has the Brandon Midget AAA Wheat Kings’ backs against the wall.
A fanned shot made its way past Wheat Kings goalie Tyler Gutenberg with just seven seconds left in the third period in Sunday’s Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League playoff contest in Winnipeg as the host Thrashers edged the Wheat Kings 5-4. It was a tough loss for Brandon, which now trails the best-of-five league semifinal 2-1, as it scored three straight goals in the third period to overcome a 3-1 deficit.
“I thought (the Thrashers) were very hungry and played well,” said Wheat Kings assistant coach Lavern Popple, who ran the bench with Tyson Ramsey because head coach Ken Schneider was ill and missed the game.
“They put a lot of pressure on us and we battled back in the third. Give full credit to our guys. We came back and got the lead, which was a tough thing to do. Over the course of the night, they put a lot of pressure on us.”
Winnipeg’s Keegan Kolesar capitalized on a power-play opportunity with 2:09 left in regulation time to tie the game. Dan Schioler, who led the Thrashers with one goal and one assist, netted the winner.
Gutenberg made 28 saves for Brandon in the loss. Brett Kitt and Duncan Campbell both had one goal and one assist for the Wheaties. Jaxon Elmes and Josh Kobelka scored Brandon’s other goals.
Brandon will have a little bit of time to get over Sunday’s loss as it hosts Game 4 at the Sportsplex on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. According the Popple, the first thing the team needs to do to prepare for that contest is to regroup mentally.
“That’s a heartbreaker and a tough one to take,” he said. “We have to lick our wounds for a day and then come back out and play like our season’s on the line because it is.”
The winner of this series will meet the Winnipeg Wild in the league final. Winnipeg defeated the Pembina Valley Hawks 3-2 in overtime on Sunday to complete their three-game sweep of the league’s other semifinal.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 11, 2013