The Brandon Wheat Kings have heard this story before, and they’re getting a little tired of it.
The Swift Current Broncos scored three times in the first period and went on to a 5-1 victory over the Wheat Kings on Wednesday night at Westman Place. Brandon’s second loss in as many nights against Swift Current was also the Western Hockey League club’s fourth defeat in a row, and eighth in nine games.
"It’s definitely depressing," said rookie forward John Quenneville, who scored his fifth goal of the season for Brandon. "We have a game plan going in from the coaches and we want to follow the game plan, and we definitely haven’t done that as of late.
"We’ve got to bring a consistent effort every night from everybody. Right now it’s lacking and there’s too many holes in our game."
Chance Lund had a goal and an assist, while Adam Lowry, Ryon Moser, Tanner LeSann and Graham Black also scored for the Broncos (11-12-3-2), who play the Wheat Kings (10-15-2-1) for the third time in five nights when they host them on Saturday in Swift Current, Sask.
Just like in Tuesday’s 5-3 loss in Swift Current, when Brandon fell behind 5-1, the Wheat Kings spotted the Broncos a big lead Wednesday and were virtually out of the game by the time the third period came around.
Unlike on Tuesday, when the Broncos did the bulk of the damage in the second period, this time Brandon struggled right off the hop in front of a crowd of 3,024 at Westman Place, being outshot 14-4 in the first frame and, more important, outscored 3-0.
"Tonight we just didn’t battle back (after falling behind early) and it really shot all the energy out of us," Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said.
The Wheat Kings played with a little more gusto to start the second period, but they fell behind even farther when LeSann and Black potted two quick goals late in the frame.
The third period was the Wheat Kings’ best as they outshot the Broncos 12-4 and Quenneville scored 4:04 into the frame, wiring a shot from the top of the left circle past Swift Current goalie Eetu Laurikainen, who was otherwise flawless in a 24-save effort. It was Brandon’s first home-ice goal in 104 minutes 45 seconds, going back to a 3-2 loss to the Broncos on Remembrance Day.
After this weekend’s road trip, which also features a Sunday date with the Medicine Hat Tigers, the Wheat Kings will get another chance to establish themselves at home with four straight games here, and Gylywoychuk admitted that the team needs a shot of confidence more than anything right now
"It’s a mindset. The x’s and o’s don’t really matter a lot," he said. "There’s parts of the game that for sure we’re doing things right and we’ve got to stress that. The confidence level right now isn’t very good as you can see how we reacted when we got goals down. But I think it’s going to be important for us to start with the work ethic, compete level and what each guy controls every night when they come to the rink."
ONE-TIMERS: Wheat Kings G Corbin Boes stopped 26 shots, including his 2,500th career WHL save … Brandon scratched D Ryan Pulock (upper body), C Tim McGauley (lower body), RW Jens Meilleur (lower body), C Tyrel Seaman (upper body) an D Riley Van Horne … To round out their forward ranks, the Wheat Kings called up C Ryley Lindgren from the Winnipeg Midget AAA Thrashers … Swift Current scratches included C Brent Benson (upper body) … Spokane GM Tim Speltz, whose Chiefs visit the Broncos on Friday, was at the game. Also in the house was Winnipeg Jets GM and ex-Wheat King Kevin Cheveldayoff.