Brandon Wheat Kings goaltender Curtis Honey snatches the puck out of the air away from Moose Jaw Warriors forward Colton McCarthy on Friday night at Westman Place. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
The Brandon Wheat Kings’ first foray into the shootout this season was a winning effort.
Jayce Hawryluk had a goal and an assist in regulation, then scored again in the shootout as the Wheat Kings nipped the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2 Friday night at Westman Place.
Faced with a hot goaltender — Moose Jaw’s Justin Paulic made 39 saves in regulation and overtime — Brandon trailed 2-1 after two periods but tied the game on John Quenneville’s late power-play goal before Hawryluk and Richard Nejezchleb sealed the comeback in the shootout.
"It feels great, especially against division rivals like that, it’s huge to get two points on them," said Hawryluk, whose team improved to 5-3-0-0 this season, good for third in the Western Hockey League’s East Division.
"And it was awesome to get the power play going."
The win was Brandon’s fourth in five tries on home ice this season and improved its record to 3-1 on a five-game homestand, which wraps up tonight against the Saskatoon Blades.
Wheat Kings head coach/ general manager Kelly McCrimmon was pleased with the progress the team showed from their last game, a 4-2 loss to the Red Deer Rebels last Saturday in Brandon.
"We were down after two periods and we had, I thought, carried the play," McCrimmon said. "We had the advantage on the shot clock, we were doing some good things but the difference for me tonight in the third period versus our third period against Red Deer was we stayed structured tonight and just kept playing and were able to get a late power play where we tied the game up.
"So I’m encouraged with that aspect of our game, compared to a week ago."
The Warriors (4-4-0-1) held the advantage in the battle of the special teams overall, going 2-for-6 on the power play, while Brandon was 1-for-5.
After Hawryluk opened the scoring for Brandon in the first, Torrin White and Jordan Eberle replied with power-play markers for Moose Jaw in the second period.
Special teams turned out to be a key aspect of the Wheat Kings’ win, however, as they tied the game on Quenneville’s goal, which came on the rebound of a Hawryluk shot.
"I thought Paulic was having a great game," Quenneville said. "That’s great for him, but we managed to get a lot of shots on goal and that’s something we haven’t been able to do of late and I’m really excited about that."
The Wheat Kings then got a vital kill on a Quenneville tripping minor that came with only 1:57 left in regulation. Leading the way on that kill was goaltender Curtis Honey, who robbed Eberle on a rebound, then was excellent again in overtime on his way to a 27-save night.
"Really, where Curtis made his best saves was late in the game and then in overtime, because I thought in overtime, they had the better chances," said McCrimmon, whose team was outshot 5-1 in the extra frame.
Brayden Point opened the shootout by scoring on Honey with a backhand deke, but Hawryluk replied by beating Paulic with a deke to the forehand. After Honey stopped Sam Fioretti, Nejezchleb netted what would prove to be the decisive goal, firing the puck through Paulic’s five-hole.
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon LW Jack Palmer left in the first period after taking a hit … D Ryan Pulock was back in the Wheat Kings’ lineup after missing their last game due to an injury … Brandon scratched D Kord Pankewicz, D Dominic Thom, LW Brett Kitt, RW Braylon Shmyr and RW Jesse Gabrielle … D Jesse Forsberg, acquired from Seattle this week, is not in Moose Jaw’s lineup yet … The Warriors also scratched LW Todd Fiddler, their highest-scoring forward going into the game … Attendance was 4,056, the Wheat Kings’ highest since their home opener … Fans going to tonight’s game between the Wheat Kings and the Saskatoon Blades at Westman Place are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to area food banks.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 12, 2013