COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Wheat King netminder Jordan Papirny watches Rebel forward Wyatt Johnson skate through his crease Tuesday at Westman Place.
Quintin Lisoway might want to ask John Quenneville if he can borrow his wingers for a while.
Filling a spot in the lineup usually held by the high-scoring centre, who was out with a minor injury, Lisoway produced a goal and an assist to help the Brandon Wheat Kings skate to a 5-2 Western Hockey League win over the Red Deer Rebels Tuesday at Westman Place. Richard Nejezchleb, who played left wing on the line, also scored, while right-winger Jayce Hawryluk rounded out the trio and picked up two assists.
"I really enjoyed having the opportunity to play with those guys," said Lisoway, an 18-year-old Neepawa native who normally fills a fourth-line checking role for Brandon. "They’re just good, skilled guys. They work hard and I just wanted to take advantage of it when I had the opportunity."
Defenceman Colton Waltz also had a goal and an assist, while Chad Robinson and Tyler Coulter rounded out the scoring as the Wheat Kings (22-16-4-0) improved to 2-0 on their five-game homestand and moved within two points of the Swift Current Broncos for first place in the East Division, with Brandon holding a game in hand.
"I think it’s no secret we want to catch them," said Robinson, who netted the winning goal 4:30 into the third period. "We want to win our division this year so I think that’s something we’re striving for right now."
Lisoway opened the scoring in the first period, getting the rebound of Waltz’s point shot off the end boards and depositing the puck behind Red Deer goalie Patrik Bartosak.
Nejezchleb jumped on a turnover by the Rebels (20-19-0-2) and blasted a shot to the top corner in the second period, putting the Wheat Kings up 2-0. They had a couple of chances to lead 3-0 but were denied by Bartosak, who stopped Rihards Bukarts on a penalty shot and later went post-to-post to stone Peter Quenneville.
That seemed to give the Rebels a lift, and they tied the game late in the second on goals 2:01 apart by Evan Polei and Grayson Pawlenchuk.
"I thought our guys had good composure; we didn’t panic," Wheat Kings head coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. "I think we’d been the better team to that point. And in the third period we didn’t give up a lot in the way of chances, and we had some guys step up offensively and give us a three-goal period."
Robinson redirected a Rene Hunter pass into the net for the go-ahead goal. Then Coulter snapped a one-timer on a Quenneville pass to the top corner, and Waltz scored through a screen by Lisoway to clinch the victory.
"I think we’ve learned from a few games that we’ve let slip away from us," Robinson said. "So I think we stayed composed when we came back and we got refocused to come out for the third, and I think that was our best period of the game."
While Bartosak was at times spectacular in a 35-save performance, keeping the Rebels within striking distance most of the night, Jordan Papirny was up to the task at the other end, with a sharp 29-save outing for Brandon.
"Jordan was solid," said McCrimmon, whose team continues its homestand with games on Friday and Saturday against the Prince Albert Raiders. "… As he improves and gains experience I think that some of his saves look less spectacular because he’s reading the play better and he’s in position better, and I think that makes the game easier for him."
ONE-TIMERS: Attendance was 3,113 … Brandon scratched C John Quenneville (upper body, day-to-day), D Kord Pankewicz and LW Jesse Gabrielle … LW Braylon Shmyr played his first game with the Wheat Kings since helping Team Pacific win the silver medal at the World Under-17 Challenge …RW Meyer Nell of Boissevain was back in the Rebels’ lineup after playing with Gabrielle on Team West at the Challenge. Nell assisted on the Rebels’ first goal … Red Deer scratches included RW Rhyse Dieno (lower body), RW Brooks Maxwell (upper body) and LW Dominik Volek (Czech national junior team), while head coach/GM Brent Sutter was not back behind the Rebel bench yet after coaching Canada at the world junior championship ... With an assist, Wheat King RW Peter Quenneville extended his point streak to seven games (three goals, eight assists).
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 8, 2014