Despite putting up a much better fight than in their last game against the Calgary Hitmen, the Brandon Wheat Kings suffered a similar fate on the scoreboard — a one-sided loss.
The Hitmen got goals from seven different players, two of them into an empty net, on their way to a 7-2 victory over the Wheat Kings Tuesday night at Westman Place. One week ago, the Hitmen pasted the Wheat Kings 10-2 in Calgary.
"I think (Tuesday’s game) was a lot better game," captain Ryan Pulock said of the Wheat Kings’ fifth straight loss.
"I don’t think the final score really shows how the game went. I think we carried the play for a lot of the game. It was just the mistakes we made were pretty big and they capitalized. They made enough mistakes too; we just couldn’t really capitalize on them."
The end result is the Wheat Kings (14-25-2-2) have fallen into last place in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, while the Hitmen (28-10-1-3) took over first place.
Brady Brassart had a goal and two assists for Calgary, while Brooks Macek, Greg Chase, Zane Jones, Spencer Humphries, Pavlo Padakin and Carson Samoridny also scored. The goals by Brassart and Samoridny were both scored into empty nets late in the game while Brandon was on a two-man power play.
Geordie Maguire and Richard Nejezchleb replied for the Wheat Kings.
After scoring six third-period goals when the teams played last week, the Hitmen picked up right where they left off as Macek struck only nine seconds into Tuesday’s contest.
After the Hitmen made it 2-0, Maguire cashed in on Taylor Cooper’s setup to cut the lead to one. But Jones extended his goal-scoring streak to six games with only 54 seconds left in the period, stretching Calgary’s advantage to 3-1.
The Wheat Kings got back within striking distance in the second period as Nejezchleb finished off a nice passing play with Mike Ferland and Jayce Hawryluk, but it took just 42 seconds for Calgary to get that one back on a Humphries shot from the high slot.
"It just seemed that every time we had some life or had some momentum or had a chance to take a step, we pushed ourselves back against the wall and gave it right back to them," Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said.
The third period was the Wheat Kings’ best, but they only fell farther behind.
The Wheat Kings had some glorious chances early in the frame, but couldn’t find the net behind Hitmen goalie Chris Driedger, who was at times brilliant and at times the beneficiary of a snakebitten Brandon lineup in his 27-save performance.
Instead, it was Calgary that got the goal as Padakin’s wrist shot went in off the glove of Brandon goalie Corbin Boes, who had a 23-save night.
A pair of Hitmen penalties late in the third period — they took only two in the game while the Wheat Kings were short-handed just once — proved to be no help either as Brandon pulled Boes for a 6-on-3 advantage but twice watched Calgary find the empty net.
"I thought we pushed back in the third," said Ferland, who returned to the Brandon lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury. "We couldn’t get any goals on the power play there. It’s tough, but sometimes that happens."
It was the Wheat Kings’ last game before Thursday’s WHL trade deadline. The club returns to action Friday, visiting the Moose Jaw Warriors (6:35 p.m., CKLQ).
ONE-TIMERS: LW/RW Alessio Bertaggia made his return to the Wheat Kings’ lineup after playing for Switzerland at the world junior championship, but the Hitmen don’t expect to have Swedish C Victor Rask back until Friday … Brandon scratches included C Tyrel Seaman (concussion, indefinite), C/LW John Quenneville (groin, one week), LW Kord Pankewicz and D Riley Van Horne … Wheat Kings LW/RW Richard Nejezchleb left the game late in the third period with an unknown injury ... In addition to Rask, Calgary was without D Jaynen Rissling (ill).