The Saskatchewan Express ran off the tracks on Wednesday in Brandon.
The Kamloops Blazers, who are 3-0-0 in three games in Saskatchewan on this road trip into the WHL’s East Division, dropped a 5-3 decision to the Brandon Wheat Kings last night at Westman Communications Place.
While the Wheat Kings were at home enjoying Tuesday night off, the Blazers were beating the Pats 4-3 in Regina and it may have shown, especially after the Blazers took a 3-2 lead in the middle of the second period. From that point, the Wheat Kings outscored the visitors 3-0; the home side also held a 32-14 edge in shots over the final 40 minutes.
Still, the teams had fun exchanging leads in this one.
The Blazers grabbed a 1-0 edge when forward Gage Quinney scored his 15th goal on a PP at 13:46.
Brandon forward Reid Duke tied it at 18:23, and the home team took the lead nine minutes into the second when forward Ty Lewis scored off a rebound.
The Blazers went out front with two straight goals, with forwards Nick Chyzowski and Erik Miller doing the job. Chyzowski scored his ninth goal at 10:00 and Miller, a 16-year-old freshman from Sherwood Park, Alta., notched his first WHL goal at 12:27.
But before the period ended the Wheat Kings had the lead again, as Duke got his second goal of the game, and 18th of the season, at 14:09 and forward Braylon Shmyr picked up his fifth at 17:08.
Wheat Kings forward Nolan Patrick, who is projected as a potential No. 1 pick in the NHL’s 2017 draft, gave his guys
some insurance with his 10th goal at 16:14 of the third period.
Brandon goaltender Jordan Papirny finished with 19 saves, while Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers blocked 37. Ferguson was making the fourth start of his career, but just his first on the road.
The Wheat Kings (20-10-3) are atop the East Division and one point out of the Eastern Conference lead.
The Blazers (15-11-4) are seventh in the 10-team Western Conference. They will continue the road trip on Friday against the Moose Jaw Warriors and wrap it up on Saturday against the Swift Current Broncos.
The last time a Kamloops team opened an East Division swing with three straight victories was in 1991-92. The Blazers finished that trip with three victories, a loss and a tie. The only other times that they started with three victories were 1989-90 and 1983-84. In each of those two seasons, they finished 3-2-0.
It’s worth noting, too, that the Blazers have won four games on this trip on three occasions. In 1999-2000, they went 4-1-1, losing the second game and earning a tie in the last one. In 1995-96, they were 4-1-0, losing the second game. In 1994-95, they won four times and tied the second game.
(The most amazing East Division trip came in 2003-04 when they opened the six-game swing with five straight ties before losing the final game.)
JUST NOTES: The announced attendance was 4,344. . . . The Blazers were 1-for-2 on the power play; the Wheat Kings were 0-for-1. . . . The Wheat Kings are 9-6-3 at home; the Blazers are 6-6-1 on the road. . . . The Blazers scratched F Quinn Benjafield, D Nolan Kneen and D Patrik Maier, who is in the Slovakian national junior team’s selection camp. . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Jayce Hawryluk and F John Quenneville, both of whom are with Canada’s national junior team in Finland, and D Ivan Provorov, who is in the Russian selection camp in Moscow. . . . Kelly McCrimmon, Brandon’s owner, general manager and head coach, is an assistant coach with Team Canada. . . . Brandon listed G Logan Thompson among its scratches and for the third game in a row didn’t have the name of a backup goaltender on the lineup sheet. . . . The Wheat Kings dressed 17 skaters, one under the maximum allowed. . . . Sophomore F Jermaine Loewen is the only Manitoban on the Kamloops roster. A busload of fans from his family’s hometown of Arborg arrived in time for the game. . . . D Jordan Thomson, who was selected by the Blazers with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft, played his 10th game — he has five assists— with the Wheat Kings after being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos. He’s from Wawanesa, which is a couple of slapshots south east of Brandon.