Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Ryley Miller finishes his check on Moose Jaw Warriors centre Andrew Johnson on Saturday night in Western Hockey League action. (MATTHEW GOURLIE/TIMES-HERALD)
The Brandon Wheat Kings have their work cut out for them in the final days before they open the Western Hockey League regular season.
The Wheat Kings finished the pre-season with a 1-3-0-0 record after a 5-3 road loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday night.
Rookie Brayden Point scored twice for the Warriors (3-1-1-0), who swept the Wheat Kings in a home-and-home series, having blitzed Brandon 7-1 a night earlier at Westman Place.
While the Wheat Kings were much better in the second game, discipline remains a concern as Brandon was short-handed 10 times on Saturday and 20 times over the two games. The Warriors, who had 11 more power plays than the Wheat Kings over the course of the series, scored twice with the man advantage on Saturday.
"(Discipline is) something that we are going to address this week when we prepare for the home opener," said Wheat Kings assistant coach Darren Ritchie, whose team hosts the Regina Pats in their season opener on Friday night at Westman Place. "It’s going to be something that we talk about and it’s going to be addressed. It’s not Brandon Wheat King hockey."
Andrew Johnson, Sam Fioretti and Torrin White scored the other Moose Jaw goals, while forwards Richard Nejezchleb and Alessio Bertaggia and defenceman Eric Roy replied for the Wheat Kings.
Brandon goalie Corbin Boes made 29 saves in his first appearance of the pre-season, while Moose Jaw’s Justin Paulic stopped 20 shots.
The Wheat Kings’ imports helped them take a 2-1 lead out of the first period after Johnson opened the scoring for the Warriors. Czech rookie Nejezchleb scored to tie the game and second-year Swiss winger Bertaggia gave Brandon the lead on a power play.
But the final two periods belonged to the Warriors as they went to the power play eight times and outshot the Wheat Kings 26-13 over that span. Still, the Wheat Kings got as close as 4-3 on Roy’s goal with 3:20 left, before White put the game out of reach with a power-play marker 48 seconds before the final buzzer.
The Wheat Kings have plenty to work on this week, but Ritchie believes the club has the building blocks in place.
"Everybody’s excited and everybody knows what the home opener is all about," Ritchie said. "We’re going to prepare our guys the best we can. We’ve got some things we have to work on. Both special teams have to be worked on and we’re just going to prepare ourselves like we do every week and get ready for the home opener."
ONE-TIMERS: The Wheat Kings went 1-for-3 on the power play and scored their other two goals while the teams were playing 4-on-4 … Warriors D Joel Edmundson of Brandon had an assist to give him two assists and a plus/minus of +3 during the home-and-home … Brandon D Tyler Yaworski and Moose Jaw LW Austin Bourhis, who were teammates last season in Prince Albert, engaged in a third-period fight … The Wheat Kings scratched C Jayce Hawryluk (concussion), C Daniel Asham, LW Dominick Favreau, C Jason Swyripa, LW Kailum Gervais, LW Jack Palmer, C Kord Pankewicz, C John Quenneville, D Rene Hunter, D Ayrton Nikkel and G Jordan Papirny … Warriors scratches included C Brayden Cuthbert (concussion) of Brandon … Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald tweeted before the game that the Warriors had cut second-year G Spencer Tremblay, who beat the Wheat Kings on Friday.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 17, 2012