Brandon Wheat Kings netminder Curtis Honey juggles a puck at the top of the crease as a pair of Prince Albert Raiders close in on Friday night in Prince Albert, Sask. (PERRY BERGSON/PRINCE ALBERT DAILY HERALD)
A nightmarish first period and a career night for a Brandonite were the Brandon Wheat Kings’ undoing as they suffered their first loss of the Western Hockey League season on Friday.
Brandonite Carson Perreaux scored two of Prince Albert’s four first-period goals, then completed his hat trick into an empty net, as the Raiders beat the visiting Wheat Kings 8-6.
Perreaux also had an assist for his first four points of the season and the first four-point game of his WHL career. Josh Morrissey also had two goals and a helper for the Raiders (3-0-0), while Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists. Craig Leverton and Matteo Gennaro rounded out the Prince Albert scoring.
"We didn’t have a good start to the game and that’s always critical on the road," Wheat Kings head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. "I think over the years we’ve always felt in P.A. and Moose Jaw, those types of buildings, it’s even more important and we just didn’t get off to a good start tonight. We had a fluke goal scored on us early and that seemed to put us on our heels; we just didn’t respond real well."
Eric Roy had a goal and two assists for the Wheat Kings (2-1-0). Richard Nejezchleb and Tim McGauley each had a goal and an assist, with the other Brandon markers coming from Jack Palmer, John Quenneville and Rihards Bukarts.
The Wheat Kings were outshot 16-4 in the first period, and even when they had a man advantage they were outplayed as the Raiders jumped on a missed Brandon pass and took off on a 3-on-1, with Perreaux finishing the play for the short-handed goal.
Nejezchleb scored early in the second period but the momentum was short-lived as Prince Albert answered with two goals and Brandon fell behind 6-1. The Wheat Kings made a game of it though, as Roy and McGauley scored before the second period was out. Then, Palmer, Quenneville and Bukarts — with his first career WHL goal — all struck in the third period to make it a one-goal game. Only Morrissey’s second of the night kept Brandon from tying the score.
Perreaux, who had never had a two-goal game in the WHL before Friday, was denied the hat trick when Wheat Kings veteran Jens Meilleur blocked his backhand attempt midway through the third. But the 6-foot-3 forward, three months shy of his 19th birthday, finally made good with 44 seconds left to play and Brandon goalie Curtis Honey pulled for an extra skater.
With the teams playing again Saturday in Prince Albert, Sask. (7:30 p.m., CKLQ), McCrimmon said his team’s push in the second half was encouraging.
"I think when you’re playing the same team again the next night, it’s important so I give our guys credit for working their way back in the game," he said. "It was a 7-6 game, we had a control off the faceoff with (Honey) out. We had a power play late as well. We were around the net, we did everything but get points tonight."
Honey finished with 37 saves, while Prince Albert netminder Cole Cheveldave stopped 29 shots.
Both teams were productive on the power play, with the Wheat Kings going 3-for-9, while the Raiders were 2-for-9.
@:ONE-TIMERS: Before the game, former Wheat Kings great Brad McCrimmon, who died in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash in 2011, was added to the Raiders’ Wall of Honour, with the McCrimmon brothers’ parents, Byron and Faye, taking part in the on-ice ceremony. Brad McCrimmon played for the Raiders from 1974-76, when they were the dominant team in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Former Raiders president Jim Bristowe, who was raised in Brandon, was also added to the Wall of Honour … LW Tyler Coulter of Brandon played his first game of the season for the Wheat Kings … Also suiting up for the first time this season were D Taylor Green and D Nick Walters. Walters was expected to miss up to two months with hand surgery but the Wheat Kings now believe he won’t need the procedure … Brandon scratched D Ryan Pulock (New York Islanders camp), D Riley Van Horne, D Dominic Thom, LW Jesse Gabrielle, LW Brett Kitt and RW Braylon Shmyr.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 28, 2013