The Brandon Wheat Kings’ struggles in overtime and the shootout cost them a perfect road trip to Saskatchewan on the weekend.
Coda Gordon and Glenn Gawdin scored in the shootout for the host Swift Current Broncos on Sunday as they topped the visiting Wheat Kings 4-3 on Sunday. Braylon Shmyr missed for the first time in a shootout this season and Richard Nejezchleb didn’t make out any better as Brandon lost for the ninth time in 13 games that went to extra time this Western Hockey League season.
"I thought it was a pretty well-played game by both teams," said Wheat Kings head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon, who squad took three of a possible four points from their trip. "We haven’t had success in overtime and shootout situations and (Sunday) was no different. The overtime was evenly played and in the shootout they did what they had to do and got the second point."
While Brandon didn’t get lucky in the shootout, it did in regulation time. Down 3-2 with less than three minutes left, Jayce Hawryluk shot the puck from behind the net off Bronco goalie Eetu Laurikainen and into the net to force extra time. It was the second goal of the day for Hawryluk, who opened the scoring in the second period when he tipped home Rene Hunter’s point shot.
Tim McGauley scored the other marker for Brandon. Andrew Johnson had a pair of the Broncos, with Jay Merkley supplying the other.
On Saturday, Hawryluk had two goals and three assists, while Ryan Pulock broke Brad McCrimmon’s club record for defencemen by scoring his 62nd career WHL goal as the Wheat Kings overpowered the host Saskatoon Blades 8-5.
Tim McGauley and Eric Roy had a goal and an assist each, while Quintin Lisoway, Chad Robinson and John Quenneville also scored for the Wheat Kings, who got three of their goals short-handed and three more on the power play. Nick Zajac scored twice, while Wawanesa’s Jordan Thomson picked up an assist in his second game as a Blade.
The solid road trip puts the Wheat Kings four points back of the Broncos for sixth place in the Eastern Conference and nine back of the Regina Pats for the East Division lead, and has McCrimmon liking what he’s seeing from his squad.
"We’re getting back to form after a difficult stretch," he said. "We have three wins and a shootout loss in our last four, so that’s a move in the right direction."
The Wheat Kings return to the ice on Tuesday when they host the Calgary Hitmen (43-15-3-4) at Westman Place at 7 p.m.
ICINGS: Brandon was 0-for-2 on the power play and didn’t take a penalty against Swift Current … Hawryluk had six goals and four assists in his last three games … Brandon RW Jens Meilleur had his consecutive games streak snapped at 107 games on Sunday as he was scratched with a lower body injury. The Wheat Kings also scratched RW Peter Quenneville (lower body) and D Kord Pankewicz … Swift Current was without for Wheat King LW Geordie Maguire (mononucleosis).
» Brandon Sun