After beginning their opening round of the playoffs with two-straight lopsided defeats at the hands of the Medicine Hat Tigers, the Wheat Kings responded well, picking up two back-to-back victories at Credit Union Place in Dauphin.
After storming out of the gates with three goals before the midway point of the game, the Wheat Kings played a dump-and-chase/defend the lead kind of third period, holding off their Albertan visitors, 5-2.
It was a game determined by special teams. Brandon went one for two on the power play (only drawing two penalties), while Medicine Hat had five opportunities on the man advantage, but backup netminder, former Winnipeg Thrasher Dylan Myskiw and the Wheaties were up to the task, finishing the night a perfect five for five on the penalty kill.
Myskiw – who was thrown into action late in game two of the series, after starter and Brandon’s regular season MVP award winner Logan Thompson went down with an injury – has performed well. The Winnipegger has actually seen action in all four games, and made 38 saves on 40 shots Wednesday night.
Stelio Mattheos, Linden McCorrister, Gunnar Wegleitner, Daniel Bukac and Cole Reinhardt picked up the goals for Brandon, while Josh Williams and Mark Rassell scored for Medicine Hat. This was the first game in which Rassell put up less than two points. The Tigers’ captain is now up to 10 points through four playoff games.
With the Brandon Winter Fair occupying Keystone Centre of Westman Place, the Wheat Kings have been playing their home playoff games in Dauphin. In knotting up the series at twos, the remaining three games become a miniature best-of-three.
Brandon’s win also guaranteed at least one more ‘home’ game this year for Manitoba’s lone WHL squad. Following game five to be held in Alberta Friday, the series will return to Dauphin for game six on Sunday… Happy Easter! If required, game seven would go from Medicine Hat on Tuesday.
The Wheat Kings collected victories in three of four regular season matchups with the Tigers this past season, and will look to carry the momentum gained from Tuesday and Wednesday’s tilts back on the road to Medicine Hat with them Friday.
Tickets to Sunday’s game are available through the box office at Credit Union Place in Dauphin.
By Carter Brooks
Photo by Jeff Miller