BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Wheat King forward Jayce Hawryluk fires a shot in Saturday night’s game against the Blades at Westman Place.
Brett Kitt hopes he’ll get to celebrate his second Western Hockey League goal more than his first.
The 17-year-old Brandonite netted his first career goal on Saturday night at Westman Place against the Saskatoon Blades, but with only 45 seconds remaining in the game and the Wheat Kings on their way to a 5-3 loss, the moment wasn’t quite what he dreamed of.
"It’s kind of a roller-coaster night, I guess," said Kitt, who carried the puck up the left wing, fought off a Blades checker and zinged a shot past goaltender Alex Moodie for the milestone marker. "It was exciting, but I knew it was something I couldn’t get too excited over at the time because we were losing. But then I also had a second chance later on in the shift where I should have put that in the net and that would have made it a lot closer. It’s good to get the first one, but we still lost."
Actually, an argument could be made Kitt scored his first career goal twice on Saturday. In the second period he shovelled a loose puck past Moodie during a scramble in front of the net. The goal was waved off, however, and Kitt was called for goaltender interference although it appeared on the replay that the 6-foot-1, 192-pound former Midget AAA Wheat King was pushed from behind by Blades defenceman Clayton Kirichenko before contacting Moodie. The Blades scored on the ensuing power play, turning what could have been a 2-2 game into a 3-1 Saskatoon lead.
Despite the adversity, Wheat Kings head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon credited Kitt for his contribution to the team’s effort.
"I thought he was effective," McCrimmon said. "… It was a nice goal by him, real good shot, and good for him to be able to get that accomplished."
Kitt was playing in just his third game of the season as one of four rookies forwards who have been cycled in and out of the lineup, and he said it’s important for him to pull his share of the load when he gets an opportunity.
"When I get chances I just have to step up and help the team out," he said. "I mean, that’s what everyone’s trying to do and everyone’s doing that well. Every time I get the opportunity to get on the ice or play a game, I’ve just got to show that I want to be here."
Cory Millette, Ryan Graham, Nathan Burns and Nikita Scherbak each had a goal and an assist, while Cameron Hebig also scored for the Blades, who got a 39-save performance from Moodie.
Kitt, Rene Hunter and Richard Nejezchleb scored as the Wheat Kings finished their five-game homestand with a 3-2 record. Jordan Papirny made 22 saves in the Brandon net.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 15, 2013