It took just two games for Mike Ferland to make an immediate impact for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
In just his second game back with the WHL club — after being sent down from the Calgary Flames organization — the 20-year-old forward scored the most timely goal for the Wheat Kings in their 6-5 win over the host Red Deer Rebels (22-15-2-1) Sunday night. Ferland took a loose puck from the top of the faceoff circle in the Red Deer end and snapped home a shot with 6:52 left on the clock, breaking the 5-5 tie.
It’s what Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk hoped Ferland would bring to the team and he was pleased to see his forward find the net.
"We know Mike’s a big part whenever he’s on the ice," Gylywoychuk said. "We know when Mike shoots the puck it’s going to be a good quality chance and give Mike credit. He found some room and scored a goal for us."
While Ferland got to play hero at the end, Gylywoychuk wishes the game hadn’t come down to that. Brandon (14-20-2-2) held a two-goal lead going into the final frame, and the Wheaties’ bench boss believes his players lost their focus in the third, allowing Red Deer to tie the game.
Brandon also took eight minors in the game and Red Deer capitalized with three power-play markers.
Brandon, however, was saved by the scoring touch of its young players — like Taylor Cooper’s two goals, Geordie Maguire’s second of the season and Quintin Lisoway’s first of his career — early in the game.
"Give credit to some of our younger guys," Gylywoychuk said. "We’re going to have to find goals throughout our lineup and tonight we did that."
Jason Swyripa also scored for the Wheaties. Curtis Honey made 37 saves for Brandon. Brooks Maxwell led Red Deer with two goals and one assist. Grant Nahirniak made 20 saves for the Rebels after replacing Bolton Pouliot 5:27 into the game.
ICINGS: Brandon continues its three-game road trip tonight when it visits the Edmonton Oil Kings (6:30, CKLQ) … Brandon was without F Alessio Bertaggia of the Swiss national junior team, as well as F Jayce Hawryluk and F John Quenneville for the world under-17 challenge. Red Deer was without G Patrick Bartosak of the Czech national junior team … Other Brandon scratches included F Nick Buonassisi (overage limit), F Tyler Coulter (healthy) and F Tyrel Seaman (concussion).