Manitoba’s new Western Hockey League rivalry is apparently based on ruining each other’s picnics.
The Brandon Wheat Kings scored early, fell behind 2-1 and then replied with three unanswered goals as they beat the host Winnipeg Ice at Wayne Fleming Arena on Saturday in front of a crowd of 1,621 in their regular season return to the capital city.
The Ice beat the Wheat Kings 3-2 on Friday in Brandon’s home opener.
Brandon (1-1-0-0) received two goals from Luka Burzan, including the winner, with Ben McCartney and Lynden McCallum also sniping. Michal Teply and Brad Ginnell replied for Winnipeg (1-1-0-0).
Brandon head coach Dave Lowry liked the effort much better on Saturday.
"We were mostly invested in the game and I thought we played with more pace," Lowry said. "The urgency and the compete were there tonight."
McCartney, who would leave the game in the second period after earning a charging major, opened the scoring three minutes 31 seconds into the opening frame during a scramble on an early power play.
But Brandon quickly found itself in penalty trouble of its own — a constant theme through the pre-season and first weekend of the regular season — and Teply scored on a 5-on-3 man advantage. Three minutes later, Ginnell, whose younger brother Riley made his Wheat Kings debut on Saturday, gave Winnipeg its first lead after the Ice forced a turnover in the Brandon zone.
Burzan singlehandedly restored the Brandon lead, stripping Ice rookie Carson Lambos of the puck and scoring on the breakaway 49 seconds into the period. He sniped again four minutes later on the power play when Winnipeg coughed up the puck and Burzan went on a three-man breakaway with McCartney and Cole Reinhardt. Burzan converted on a pass by McCartney, who was tossed from the game 12:07 into the middle frame for a charging major after a hit on Teply.
It was the second night in a row Brandon lost one of its top players. On Friday, Ridly Greig was ejected 21 seconds into the game for a hit on Chase Hartje. Both were out of the lineup on Saturday, Greig as he waits for the length of his suspension to be announced and Hartje due to injury.
"We’re still taking too many penalties," Lowry said. "It’s taking a lot out of our top guys. It’s really extending their minutes."
Winnipeg failed to capitalize on the major, however, and it looked like Brandon took a 4-2 lead in the third when Caiden Daley tipped in a shot. The apparent goal was waved off due to a high stick, but with three minutes remaining, McCallum sniped to put the game away.
Brandon’s Jiri Patera made 33 saves, with Winnipeg’s Dean McNabb turning aside 35 shots.
Brandon went 2-for-6 on the power play, with Winnipeg scoring once in six chances.
ICINGS: Brandon’s scratches were D Jack Zayat, F Bode Hagan, G Connor Ungar and Greig … Brandon returns to action when it hosts the Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday and visits Mosaic Place a night later.
» Twitter: @PerryBergson