Two-tenths of a second proved to be the difference between the Brandon Wheat Kings having momentum for the second period of Monday’s Western Hockey League contest, or falling apart.
Darren Dietz scored a power-play marker for the Saskatoon Blades with 0.2 seconds left in the opening frame to tie the game 1-1. From there on, the Wheat Kings (21-35-3-2) struggled and fell 5-1 to the host Blades (35-21-0-3).
Saskatoon outshot Brandon 37-10 in the final 40 minutes as the Blades extended their winning streak to 12 games.
"The second period, we didn’t come out ready to play," Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said. "Give credit to Saskatoon. They came ready to play in the second period and they pushed our backs against the wall. They changed momentum right away and they carried it through the period. They got rewarded with some goals and we just could never get back on top again."
The Wheaties battled through some early adversity — struggling to gain possession in Saskatoon’s zone during the opening five minutes — and opened the scoring when Jason Swyripa netted his first goal in 19 WHL contests.
Geordie Maguire was robbed of a goal by Blades goalie Andrey Makarov in the second period and Saskatoon capitalized seconds later. Brett Stovin picked off Eric Roy’s clearing attempt up the middle and Lucas Sutter tipped home Stovin’s shot. Matej Stransky, Shane McColgan and Josh Nicholls rounded out the scoring for Saskatoon.
Although he gave up five goals, Curtis Honey proved to be a bright spot for Brandon. He stopped 40 of the 45 shots he faced, including one that came on a two-man breakaway.
"Curtis Honey was great," Gylywoychuk said. "He made the game a lot more respectable at times than it was. Give him full marks. He gave us a chance throughout the night."
The Wheat Kings return to Saskatoon for their next game on Friday night.
ICINGS: Brandon was 0-for-4 on the power play. Saskatoon was 1-for-5 …Brandon D Tyler Yaworski returned to the lineup after serving a six-game suspension … Brandon scratches included G Corbin Boes (knee), RW/LW Richard Nejezchleb (hand) and C Tyrel Seaman (concussion).