Tigers battle back on Wheat Kings

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WINNIPEG -- The Brandon Wheat Kings woke up a sleeping Tiger on Thursday night.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/04/2011 (4158 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG — The Brandon Wheat Kings woke up a sleeping Tiger on Thursday night.

Linden Vey, relatively quiet through three games, broke out with two goals and two assists in Game 4 last night at the MTS Centre, netting the game-winner with 25 seconds left to play as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Wheat Kings 5-4.

The win tied the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference quarter-final 2-2, with the series shifting to Medicine Hat, Alta., forGame 5 on Saturday night.

Phil Hossack/Winnipeg Free Press Wheat Kings’ forward Tyrel Seaman (left) celebrates his goal with teammate Dominick Favreau on Thursday.

"It’s my job to contribute offensively," said Vey, the WHL scoring champion who had only two points, including an empty-net goal, in the first three games. "Especially our line, myself and Emerson (Etem), I think we gotta contribute. We’re 40-goal-scorers this year … and we knew coming into tonight we had to be a factor."

Etem added a goal and two assists, while Kale Kessy and Jace Coyle also scored as the Tigers overcame a 3-0 first- period deficit.

"It’s a real setback for our team and I guess the disappointing part for me is in large part it was self-inflicted," said Wheat Kings head coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon. "I just think we need to play better than we played."

Brodie Melnychuk, Tyrel Seaman, Matt MacKay and Shayne Wiebe scored for the Wheat Kings.

The Wheat Kings scored three times on the power play and took a 4-2 lead out of the first period.

Melnychuk opened the scoring on the power-play, firing a centring pass that went off the stick of Tigers defenceman Thomas Carr and into the net. MacKay and Wiebe, with power-play markers, also scored for the Wheat Kings, while Seaman added his first career playoff goal at even strength.

Vey, on a power play, and Kessy replied to keep the Tigers within striking distance.

The constant stream of players heading to the penalty box continued in the second period, but the goals dried up, thanks in large part to Wheat Kings goaltender Corbin Boes, who got the nod with Game 3 winner Liam Liston out with a suspected concussion.

Outshot 17-7 in the first period, the Tigers played the bulk of the second period in the Wheat Kings end and had an 18-5 edge in shots in the middle frame.

Boes stopped Cole Grbavac’s attempt from in close on a Curtis Valk feed midway through the period.

Later on, he lashed out his right leg to make an even better save on Kessy during a Medicine Hat power play.

The pressure paid off 18 seconds into the third period as Etem capitalized on Vey’s centring pass to cut Brandon’s lead to one.

The Tigers tied it up on the power play with 4:46 left in the third on a point-shot that hit Boes and bounced into the net with only one second left on a Jordan Fransoo slashing minor.

Vey netted the winner after stealing the puck from Fransoo in the Brandon end, going to the net and beating Boes high to the blocker side.

"We were on them all night," Vey said. "I think we started to wear them out a bit with our speed and just constantly getting after their ‘D.’ I just lifted his stick and the puck came through and I got a chance and I put it in the net."

The Wheat Kings let the Tigers off the hook last night and as a result are at risk of doing the same in the series.

"I thought we had a really good start to the first period, but then they came at us hard and we’ve gotta bounce back better," Brandon forward Mike Ferland said. "We just stopped moving our feet and stopped shooting the puck and didn’t have enough push."

ONE-TIMERS: Attendance was 6,003, bettering Monday’s crowd by nearly 1,000 as the best the Wheat Kings have had at the MTS Centre … Brandon did not reveal the name of the emergency backup goalie and did not list him on the game sheet … Wheat King scratches included RW Brenden Walker (concussion) and D Spencer Galbraith. Walker’s injury opened the door for LW Dominick Favreau to play his first playoff game in three WHL seasons … Medicine Hat LW Hunter Shinkaruk served a one-game suspension for the hit that injured Walker, while RW Boston Leier (upper body), RW Tyler Pitlick (broken ankle) and G Tyler Bunz (concussion) were also out.

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