The Brandon Wheat Kings had a case of the third-period blues on Sunday.
For the second straight game, the Western Hockey League squad went into the final frame of Sunday’s game tied, but ultimately came out on the losing end. The Wheat Kings couldn’t muster many quality-scoring chances in the third period as they fell 3-1 to the host Regina Pats.
The final 20 minutes proved to be a point of frustration for Brandon head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk, who watched his team drop its fourth-straight game.
"We have a mind set where we give ourselves an opportunity to work for two periods and we give ourselves opportunities to win the game," said Gylywoychuk, who believes his squad outplayed the Pats during the first two periods. "We have to have the mind set that we’ve got to find a goal for us to get ahead or find a victory. The bottom line is we have to continue doing what we’ve done for two periods that have given us success. We do it in stretches, we just don’t do it for a complete 20."
Brandon (14-24-2-2) gained the early edge on Regina (18-21-2-2), who moved eight points up on the Wheat Kings for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, when Tim McGauley deflected an Eric Roy feed past Pats goalie Matt Hewitt 45 seconds into the second frame.
Regina tied things up when Lane Scheidl snapped a shot past Corbin Boes 16 seconds after the Wheat Kings killed off a five-on-three power play, but before the other penalty expired.
Colton Jobke put a point shot past a screened Boes early in the third period and Morgan Klimchuk added an empty netter to round out the scoring.
Despite being eight points back in the playoff hunt with 31 games to go, Gylywoychuk said the Wheat Kings aren’t going to panic just yet.
"We can’t be looking at the schedule yet," he said. "We have to worry about the Brandon Wheat Kings and in order to do that we have to make sure we get as many points as we can. We have lots of hockey left and we have to make sure we’re ready to play each and every night and give ourselves a chance to win."
The good news for the Wheat Kings is it appears they will retain the rights to 20-year-old left winger Mike Ferland despite the end to the National Hockey League labour dispute. Wheat Kings general manager Kelly McCrimmon said the end of the lockout "doesn’t change his status."
ICINGS: Boes made 31 saves for Brandon, while Hewitt stopped 25 shots for Regina … Brandon was 1 for 3 with the man advantage and killed off four of Regina’s five power plays … Brandon scratches included Ferland (upper body), LW Alessio Bertaggia (world juniors), C John Quenneville (lower body) and C Tyrel Seaman (concussion).