Brandon Wheat Kings
Saskatoon, SK. — The Brandon Wheat Kings opened up a 2-game Western Hockey League series in Saskatoon Wednesday night with a 6-4 victory over the hometown Blades.
Brenden Walker scored three times and set up another as the Wheat Kings stormed back from a 2-1 second period deficit with five third period goals.
For Walker, it was his second career WHL hat trick and for the Wheat Kings, it snapped a 4-game losing streak.
Paul Ciarelli, Michael Ferland and former Blade Darian Dziurzynski also scored for the winners, who will close out this week’s 2-game series on Friday night. Dziurzynski’s goal was his fifth shorthanded tally of the season and that moved the 20-year old Lloydminster native into second place in league in that department.
Coming from behind against a good club and completing a game by having a strong third period was a very positive sign says assistant coach Darren Ritchie as the Wheat Kings embark on the final two months of the 2011-12 regular season.
“We had to keep our pace, keep our structure to our game and just stay with it and things will happen for you,” Brandon assistant coach Darren Ritchie told Bruce Luebke on CKLQ’s post-game show. “Lately, we’ve been finding ways to lose the game in the third period…tonight, for our guys to really stick with it and get rewarded for their hard work is well deserved.”
Lukas Sutter, who fought Dziurzysnki in the third period, scored twice in a losing cause for the Blades while Darren Dietz and Matej Stransky added singles.
Veteran Brandon Anderson got the starting assignment for the Wheat Kings and the former Hurricane turned aside 25 shots for the win. 16-year old rookie Austin Moodie, who blanked Brandon on 37 shots last week at Westman Place, made 29 saves to take the loss.
Captain Mark Stone was held without a point for only the fifth time this season. He remains third in the WHL scoring race with 30 goals and 73 points.
With the victory, the Wheat Kings improved their record to 23-20-1-2 and moved six points up on Red Deer for the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.
Following Friday’s second half of this week’s doubleheader with the Blades, the Wheat Kings will return to Brandon to meet the defending champion Kootenay Ice on Saturday night.
Tickets to Saturday’s game – which is another Source for Sports Subway Family Night – are on sale at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at ticketmaster.ca. Wheat Kings’ $44 Family Packs, however, are on sale only at Brandon Source for Sports.