Brandon Wheat King Rene Hunter and Regina Pat Trent Ouellette jostle in front of the net Thursday. (DON HEALY/REGINA LEADER-POST)
It looks like the Brandon Wheat Kings’ young forwards will need a little more polish before they’re ready to show their finish.
The Wheat Kings outshot the Regina Pats 33-22 Thursday night in the Queen City, but fell 3-1 in the pre-season opener for both Western Hockey League teams.
"It’s the first experience for a lot of our players," said rookie Brandon head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk, who iced a lineup with 13 first-year players and only two veterans older than 18. "A lot of our guys have played bantam and midget. I think it’s a lot of experience for them to see the high pace and to play for keeps.
"I think tonight was a learning experience for a lot of little things that they’ve got to get better at: Shift lengths, the pace and tempo of a game, puck protection."
The Pats also dressed a young lineup, but got goals from veterans Colton Jobke and Lane Scheidl late in the first period to take the lead.
Rookie John Quenneville replied for the Wheat Kings, 6:54 into the third period, converting a pass from Czech newcomer Richard Nejezchleb.
Brandon had two more power plays but was unable to score the equalizer, with Pats rookie Patrick D’Amico putting the game out of reach with a late empty-netter.
The Wheat Kings wound up 0-for-5 with the man advantage, including a lengthy 5-on-3 in the first period.
Gylywoychuk said the team could have put more pucks on the net during those opportunities, but overall he was encouraged by the effort.
"I thought that we did a lot of things right," said Gylywoychuk, whose team hosts the Pats tonight (7:30, Westman Place). "There’s lots of rooms for improvement, as I’m sure anybody could know. But give the guys credit; there were some times where we were the better team tonight. We could have converted on some opportunities we had to score some goals, but overall I’m pleased with what we saw."
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon D Rene Hunter had two fights — vs. Regina C Dryden Hunt and C Henry Hardarson. Pre-season fights usually merit game misconducts, but Hunter was spared in the first scrap because Hunt instigated it … Brandon scratched veterans LW Dominick Favreau (back), D Ryley Miller (sick), RW Jens Meilleur (back), C Nick Buonassisi,D Tyler Yaworski, G Corbin Boes, D Ryan Pulock and LW Alessio Bertaggia as well as rookies C Jayce Hawryluk (upper body), C Tim McGauley, LW Kyler Hehn and C Ryley Lindgren … The game was played at the Co-Operators Centre, next door to the Pats’ regular home, the Brandt Centre.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 7, 2012