Jayce Hawryluk will serve a three-game suspension. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
The Brandon Wheat Kings came out firing against the host Red Deer Rebels on Monday night, and then hung on for a 4-3 Western Hockey League victory.
The Wheat Kings (20-15-3-0) exploded for three goals in the opening seven minutes and 14 seconds and then withstood a charge by the Rebels (19-17-0-2) in the second period and in the final minutes of the third.
"We had a good first period," Wheat Kings head coach/GM Kelly McCrimmon said. "We outshot them 16-3 and led them 3-0. That was a real good start for us on the road.
"The second was a little more wide open and we lost that period. In the third, I thought we really did a good job defensively, didn’t give up a lot of chances and only gave up six shots against. That was a real good job by our team."
Tyler Coulter opened the scoring 30 seconds into the game when he tucked an Eric Roy rebound past Red Deer netminder Patrik Bartosak. Ryan Pulock made it a two-goal lead just 2:35 later when he ripped a shot that went through Bartosak and trickled into the net. Tim McGauley made it 3-0 four minutes later.
But the Rebels battled back in the second period on goals by Conner Bleackley and Wyatt Johnson.
Richard Nejezchleb, who was in the penalty box for Bleackley’s goal, restored Brandon’s two-goal lead when he put home Kord Pankewicz’s rebound in a scramble in front of the net. Matt Bellerive closed the gap to one again when the Rebels came in on a four-on-two rush and beat Jordan Papirny.
Brandon limited Red Deer’s chances after that, although Nejezchleb took his third penalty of the game with 2:10 remaining and Red Deer pulled its goalie, but couldn’t capitalize.
"It’s all good experience," McCrimmon said. "We’re always learning to win and I think it’s a good game for our guys. We refocused between the second and third and I thought did a good job."
The Wheat Kings will wrap up their four-game road trip with games tonight against the Edmonton Oil Kings (6:30, CKLQ) and Thursday in Calgary versus the Hitmen (7:30 p.m., CKLQ).
ICINGS: Papirny made 18 saves for Brandon. Bartosak made 31 for Red Deer … The Rebels were 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Wheat Kings went 0-for-6 … Brandon scratched LW Braylon Shmyr (Team Pacific) and LW Jesse Gabrielle (Team West), who are both at the World Under-17 Challenge, D Colton Waltz (upper body injury) and C Tanner Kaspick.
HAWRYLUK GETS THREE GAMES:
The WHL has finalized a three-game suspension for Wheat Kings leading scorer RW Jayce Hawryluk after he was given a boarding major and was ejected from Friday’s win over Regina. Monday’s game was the second game he served. He’ll be back for Brandon’s game on Thursday in Calgary. Nejezchleb was not suspended for his hit on Regina D Kyle Burroughs on Saturday that resulted in a charging major and a game misconduct.
CLAGUE CALLED UP:
The Wheat Kings have called up 15-year-old D Kale Clague from his Lloydminster Midget AAA team for the remainder of the Wheat Kings’ Alberta road swing. He did not dress in last night’s game.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 31, 2013