Brandon Wheat Kings winger Alessio Bertaggia is jubilant after helping score a goal against the Regina Pats at the Brandt Centre in Regina Saturday. Brandon won 7-4. (MICHAEL BELL/REGINA LEADER-POST)
The offensive woes predicted for the Brandon Wheat Kings this season were nowhere to be found on Saturday night.
The Western Hockey League club rolled to a 7-4 road win over the Regina Pats, completing a sweep of their season-opening home-and-home series.
Brandon’s top line of Tyrel Seaman (two goals, one assist), Alessio Bertaggia and Jason Swyripa (one goal, two assists each) dominated the game, combining for nine points. Daniel Asham added a goal and an assist, while Nick Buonassisi and Tim McGauley — with an empty-netter — rounded out the Brandon scoring. Defenceman Ryan Pulock set up three Brandon goals.
"I think they found a way to score some goals tonight," said Dwayne Gylywoychuk, who is off to a 2-0 start as the Wheat Kings’ head coach. "Jason Swyripa stepped up, Daniel Asham stepped up, Alessio got on the board for us as well (along with) Tyrel Seaman. We need all those guys to score and give them credit, they scored some big goals when they needed to."
Three times the Pats took one-goal leads, on markers by Trent Ouellette, Cole Hamblin and Adam Brooks, but each time the Wheat Kings bounced back to tie the game.
The Wheat Kings swung the odds in their favour with three goals in the second half of the second period. After Dyson Stevenson got the Pats back within a goal by scoring on a power play in the third period, rookie Regina goalie Teagan Sacher did everything he could to keep his team within striking distance, making spectacular saves on Jens Meilleur, Bertaggia and Swyripa in short order.
But he couldn’t hold Brandon off forever, as Swyripa snuck a bad-angle shot past Sacher on the short side to put the game out of reach with his first regular-season goal since Dec. 13, 2011.
The Wheat Kings get back in action with a busy week, hosting the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday (7 p.m, Westman Place) before visiting the Swift Current Broncos on Friday and the Moose Jaw Warriors this Saturday night.
Gylywoychuk said the Wheat Kings have a nice foundation to build on, but plenty of work ahead of them.
"I think that this weekend there’s lots of positives, but there’s also lots of teaching points," he said. "Our discipline’s got to be better, our puck management’s got to be better and you put all that together, I think we’ll take some time to work on it and we’ve got to learn. We’ve got to take the next step up and I think it begins in practice."
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon G Corbin Boes made 19 saves, while Regina G Matt Hewitt stopped 17 of 22 shots before being replaced at the start of the third period by Sacher, who turned away 10 of 11 the rest of the way … Brandon went 2-for-7 on the power play, while Regina was 2-for-6 … McGauley’s goal was his first WHL point, while LW Geordie Maguire’s two assists were his first career points … Brandon LW Kord Pankewicz and C John Quenneville made their WHL debuts … Brandon scratched C Jayce Hawryluk (concussion), LW Taylor Cooper, RW Quintin Lisoway, C Ryley Lindgren, D Colton Waltz and D Riley Van Horne … The status of Saskatoon RW Josh Nicholls for the Blades’ game in Brandon on Wednesday is in doubt after he was suspended indefinitely by the WHL for taking a charging major in Friday’s game against Prince Albert. Nicholls sat out Saturday’s rematch with the Raiders … Moose Jaw D Joel Edmundson of Brandon is also awaiting a ruling on the length of his suspension after a dust-up with Swift Current LW Adam Lowry on Friday. Edmundson was given a fighting major and tossed from the game, while Lowry was assessed only a roughing minor.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 24, 2012