Wheat Kings score 11 straight in utter domination of Warriors
Moose Jaw took an early 2-0 lead but spent the rest of the night with no answer to their most one-sided home defeat since 2008/09
It was one of those nights for the Moose Jaw Warriors, and one they definitely want to pin in the rearview mirror.
The Brandon Wheat Kings scored four goals in 1:30 early in the second half, for a total of six in the frame, and would earn an 11-2 Western Hockey League win at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.
It was a stunning result for the home side, especially as it followed a win against one of the CHL’s top sides on Winnipeg ice earlier in the week.
“I think they put the pressure on and then we totally pulled out,” said Warriors captain Denton Mateychuk. “We played scared, we didn’t precheck, we didn’t backtrack, there were loose gaps, it was everything. Everything that went wrong was pretty much at our expense and we just have to get better, that’s totally unacceptable.”
Mateychuk felt the win over the ice may have affected the Warriors’ performance on Friday, especially as they faced a team battling for a playoff spot.
“We were maybe a bit far from that win when we came into a game against a team behind us in the standings,” he said. “Maybe that crosses your mind but you have to treat every game the same and tonight I don’t think we did that.”
The home loss was the most lopsided since the 2008-09 season when the Saskatoon Blades clinched an 11-1 win on Sunday, January 25 at the Moose Jaw Civic Center, scoring 10 goals in a row.
Thing is, after the first 1:09 of Friday’s game, it looked like the boot would be on the other foot between the two teams.
Ryder Korczak opened the scoring after just 39 seconds and ended a two-for-one break with Eric Alarie by defeating Wheat Kings goaltender Nicholas Jones with a low-shot blocker.
Just 30 seconds later it was 2-0 for Moose Jaw, this time with Harper Lolacher getting the job done by finding a ricochet off a nearby Brayden Yager shot and putting a shot on target.
However, a penalty from too many men minutes later gave Brandon a chance to get back in the game and they would capitalize when Nate Danielson ended a two-for-one break with Nolan Ritchie at the 4-12 mark.
The Warriors had a few chances to extend their lead through excellent scoring chances as the half progressed, but were hampered by Jones and Brandon capitalized on their keeper’s exploits.
Zakhar Polshakov equalized the game at 4:19 in the third, but it was a great backhand pass from Rylan Roersma from the corner that put Polshakov in the slot all by himself. He would have all day to put a shot in the corner of Jackson Unger’s glove and the teams would go into the break tied 2-2.
And then came the carnage.
Brandon received back-to-back power plays in the first three minutes of the second period and Luke Shipley would hit 2:50 in the frame for the Wheat Kings.
Mason Ward gave Brandon a 4-2 lead 50 seconds later after Unger missed a throw-in at the net and ended his evening with four goals allowed on 21 shots.
With Connor Ungar in the net, things didn’t get any better as Brandons Roersma and Brett Hyland struck on the ice on their next two onslaughts, with the goals falling 15 seconds apart.
The four goals in 1:30 isn’t a WHL record in a single game, but it wasn’t far off — 52 seconds is the mark to beat, with the Saskatoon Blades being the latest team to pull off the feat against the Prince Albert Raiders in 1982. Former Warriors assistant coach Lane Lambert had one of the goals for Saskatoon in that outburst.
Just over three minutes after that marker, it was 7-2 to Brandon thanks to a goal from Roger McQueen, and the Wheat Kings had five goals in the first 7:37 of the period.
Brandon wasn’t done yet as former Warrior Calder Anderson scored 4-11 in the second for his eighth straight goal.
All told, Brandon would beat Moose Jaw 20-6 over that period.
Ritchie and Evan Groening scored just over two minutes apart midway through the third game, making it a double-digit goal night for Brandon, and Anthony Wilson closed the game with his 11th goal at 9:30.
The Wheat Kings ended up beating the Warriors 44-23 on the night.
Moose Jaw fell to 21-13-0-0 with the loss but remains fourth in the Eastern Conference and a point clear of the Hurricanes thanks to Swift Current’s 4-3 win over Lethbridge. Winnipeg ended Saskatoon’s 10-game winning streak with a 2-0 win, meaning the Warriors are eight points behind the third-place Blades.
Next action for Moose Jaw is Saturday night when they look for a rebound against the Wheat Kings in Brandon, with Mateychuk expecting a much-improved performance.
“Everyone will go home and think about their game and come back tomorrow and be ready to play,” he said matter-of-factly. “We have to use that as motivation, they just embarrassed us on our home track and we have to go there and give it to them and play a lot better than tonight.”