The Brandon Wheat Kings left home a 2-0 team and came back at 2-2, but could end up being the better for it.
The Wheat Kings fell 4-2 to the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday, their second road loss in as many days to the third-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League.
Brandon lost by the same margin on Friday, but in that 8-6 defeat the Wheat Kings trailed by five goals at one point before battling back.
Both were one-goal games until the Raiders scored empty-net clinchers, but Wheat Kings head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon believed his team was stronger than the night before from start to finish on Saturday.
"I thought we’d learn a lot about our team and I think we did," McCrimmon said.
"And I think we learned a lot from Game 1 that we carried into Game 2. (In) Game 2 our effort was certainly good enough to win and unfortunately we didn’t, but if we use the good things we take out of the game tonight, I think it will help us going into the week."
Dylan Busenius had a goal and an assist for the Raiders, who lead the Western Hockey League’s East Division with a 4-0-0-0 record.
He netted the winner late in the third period on a pinball point shot that ricocheted off of two Wheat Kings and into the net.
Brandonite Carson Perreaux, who completed his first WHL hat trick into an empty net on Friday, finished the scoring again on Saturday, scoring his fourth of the season with Wheat Kings goalie Jordan Papirny pulled for an extra attacker after a 27-save performance.
The Busenius goal was the Raiders’ first lead of the game. Brandon held leads of 1-0 in the first period and 2-1 in the second on goals by Richard Nejezchleb and Rihards Bukarts, but Prince Albert replied both times, with Craig Leverton and Leon Draisaitl knotting the score.
Nejezchleb and Bukarts, the Wheat Kings’ imports, assisted on each other’s goals for two-point nights and McCrimmon liked the chemistry they showed.
"They were real good tonight," he said. "Timmy McGauley was real good as well. Their line was dangerous, made some real good plays."
The Wheat Kings get their next five games at home, starting Wednesday against the Edmonton Oil Kings and continuing with games Friday versus the Vancouver Giants and Saturday against the Red Deer Rebels.
McCrimmon is looking forward to the ramped up schedule.
"It’ll be good to get playing some hockey," he said. "We’ve been only playing weekends. It’ll be good to have a three-game week."
ONE-TIMERS: After the teams combined for 18 power plays on Friday, the whistles were much less frequent on Saturday, with Brandon going 0-for-3 with the man advantage, while Prince Albert was 0-for-1 … Brandon scratched D Ryan Pulock (with New York Islanders), D Riley Van Horne, D Dominic Thom, LW Jesse Gabrielle, LW Brett Kitt and RW Braylon Shmyr … Brandon-born LW Tyler Coulter made his season debut for the Wheat Kings on Saturday … Spokane D Reid Gow of Killarney has been named the Chiefs’ captain.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 30, 2013