Cranbrook, B.C. (ISN) — A goal by 17-year old defenceman Eric Roy with only two seconds remaining in regulation time Tuesday night lifted the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings to a 4-3 Valentines Day victory over the defending Western Hockey League Champion Kootenay Ice.
Roy’s goal came just 2:17 after the Ice had tied the game on a Jesse Ismond powerplay goal, sparking a flurry of chances by both teams over the course of the final three minutes of the game.
Trailing 2-0 through twenty minutes of play, the Wheat Kings bounced back to grab the lead with three unanswered second period goals and setting the stage for Roy’s third period heroics.
Winners of four of their last five games, the Wheat Kings have now moved six points up on the Red Deer Rebels in the battle for the eighth and final playoff berth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. It also moved Brandon to within three points of the seventh place Regina Pats.
Michael Ferland with two and captain Mark Stone rounded out the scoring for the Wheat Kings, who were outshot 34-30 on the night. Stone also added an assist, giving him 37 goals and 92 points on the season and sole posession of the WHL scoring lead. It also extended his point scoring streak to nine games.
Brock Montgomery and Jon Martin scored Kootenay’s first period goals – 54 seconds apart – against Wheat Kings’ netminder Brandon Anderson, who was steady between the pipes on this night.
“In the third there, they had some momentum and he made some great stops,” assistant coach Darren Ritchie told CKLQ’s Bruce Luebke following the game. “You need him to bear down. He gave up the two goals and, after that, I thought he was real solid.”
With the win, Brandon is now 17-15-0 on the road this season and 29-26-1-2 overall. The Wheat Kings, who will close out their 4-game season series against the Ice next Tuesday night at Westman Communications Group Place, are now 2-1-0 against Kootenay in 2011-12 and have compiled a 10-3-0-1 record at the Cranbrook Rec-Plex over the course of the past six years.
After splitting the first two games of this week’s 3-game Central Division tour, the Wheat Kings will close it out Wednesday night in Lethbridge, before returning home this weekend for a 2-game series against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.
Tickets to both weekend games are on sale now at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at ticketmaster.ca Friday’s game is Giant Tiger Player Card Giveaway Night, with the first 2,000 fans in attendance to receive a complete set of Wheat Kings’ 2011-12 player cards.