Dogged Effort Not Enough For Wheat Kings In Road Trip Finale In Saskatoon
The Brandon Wheat Kings might’ve been gassed from all the hockey they’ve played lately when they faced the Saskatoon Blades but they never let it show. Facing one of the top teams in the nation, they did everything right except score.
Luke Shipley buried one in the first period but that was all the offense the Wheat Kings mustered as they fell 3-1. Carson Bjarnason stopped 32 of 34 shots thrown his way in the loss.
“You’re never happy when you lose hockey games,” said head coach and GM Marty Murray. “But I’m really proud of the effort. I thought the guys played their best game in a while. I thought we did everything well except score. It was a really gritty effort.”
For the first minute and sixteen seconds of the game, the Blades worked the puck around the offensive zone and got a full line change in before storming the net and getting the first goal of the game out of it from Egor Sidorov.
As the period went on, the Wheat Kings caught up to the pace and even began to set it. Caleb Hadland drew a penalty by driving the net, but the Wheat Kings never found out if their power play would’ve been good because they scored seconds after the arm went up, with Shipley following Hadland’s net drive and stuffing it home.
The first power plays of the game came in the second period, and the Blades made good on their first of the night almost immediately as Sidorov one-timed home his 41st of the year. The Wheat Kings had golden chances both on their power play and at five-on-five, and took the lead in shots on goal, but were foiled by Evan Gardner repeatedly.
Gardner continued to stand on his head in the third period, even as the Wheat Kings pressed with the net empty. A bad bounce as the Blades tried to clear put Saskatoon up ice three-on-one, and left Vaughn Waterodt staring down the empty net, which he finished.
The Wheat Kings pick up four of a possible six points in the three-in-three swing and return to the Westoba Place to wrap up their season series with the Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday, February 7.