The Regina Pats dished out a serving of humble pie to the Brandon Wheat Kings for their bus trip to Alberta on Saturday night.
One night after being pasted 8-0 by the Wheat Kings at Westman Place, the Pats got back on home ice and reversed the outcome by blasting Brandon 8-4.
With the win, the Pats (19-15-2-2) hopped back into fifth place in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, while the Wheat Kings (19-15-3-0) slipped into a tie for sixth place with the Kootenay Ice.
While the Wheat Kings were focused on the two key games against their East Division rivals on the weekend, they have to quickly change gears this week for three road games in the next four days against Central Division teams, starting tonight (7:30, CKLQ) against the Red Deer Rebels, followed by the Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday and the Calgary Hitmen on Thursday.
“(The games are) all important,” Wheat Kings head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “They’re different. The two Regina games were four-point games, divisional games, and we started off a point behind them, leapfrogged them, then got passed again here (on Saturday). Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary are teams we don’t play as often, but they’re conference games and we’ll need to play well to have success in Alberta.”
The Wheat Kings twice came from behind to tie the Pats on a pair of Tim McGauley goals Saturday, but Regina took control with five goals in the second period, their dominance in the frame aided by a series of Brandon penalties.
“The penalty kill in the second period held up fairly well,” McCrimmon said. “They scored the sixth goal on the power play on a goal that probably (Wheat Kings goalie Curtis Honey) should have had, and yet you get out of rhythm. We had guys that didn’t get enough ice time, we had guys that were overplayed and then in the five-on-five play in between, we did give up the fourth and fifth goals.”
The Pats added two more power-play goals on a third-period charging major to Wheat Kings import Richard Nejezchleb.
Chandler Stephenson scored twice and added an assist for the Pats, with Boston Leier picking up a goal and three assists. Connor Gay had a goal and two assists, ex-Wheat King Geordie Maguire had a goal and a helper, while Adam Brooks, Carter Hansen and Dmitry Sinitsyn also scored.
John Quenneville and Ryley Lindgren scored singles for the Wheat Kings, while Brandonite Duncan Campbell made his WHL debut as call-up from the Midget AAA Wheat Kings.
“I thought Duncan was good,” McCrimmon said. “He was positionally sound, he did the things we asked of him, he didn’t play as much as we’d like, based on some of the penalty situations, but I thought he had a good first game in the league.”
ONE-TIMERS: Wheat Kings G Curtis Honey made 43 saves, while G Dawson MacAuley stopped 22 shots for Regina … With Brandon's scoring leader, RW Jayce Hawryluk, already suspended, Nejezchleb's major for his hit on Regina D Kyle Burroughs will draw an automatic league review. Burroughs remained in the game … The WHL has yet to decide the length of Hawryluk's suspension for a hit from behind on Pats D Jesse Zgraggen on Friday. Zgraggen was back in action on Saturday … Brandon scratched its other affiliate player from midget, C Tanner Kaspick, as well as LW Jesse Gabrielle (Team West) and LW Braylon Shmyr (Team Pacific), who are both at the World Under-17 Challenge, plus D Kord Pankewicz.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 30, 2013