‘AAA’ Wheaties unable to top host Trojans

The Manitoba champion Brandon Midget ‘AAA’ Wheat Kings have been eliminated from TELUS Cup contention, closing their successful provincial championship campaign.

The book has closed on the Brandon Midget ‘AAA’ Wheat Kings’ 2018-2019 hockey campaign.

The Wheat Kings dropped a 6-1 decision to the Tisdale Trojans Saturday afternoon, ending their competition in the 2019 TELUS Cup West Region championships in Tisdale, Sask. The game was Brandon’s final opportunity to claim a victory out of the tournament.

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The Trojans opened the scoring 4:12 into the match with a goal from Dawson Schaff, assisted by Kalen Ukrainetz and Trenton Curtis. Brandon’s Nolan Wallace took a slashing penalty three minutes later, allowing Davis Chorney to sink a power-play goal past Wheat King starting goaltender Brad Letain.

After missing a power-play opportunity of their own, the Wheat Kings battled back with significant scoring chances off of long passes through the neutral zone. Brandon got on the board on a second power-play when a desperate scramble in front of the Tisdale goal saw Colin Cook pick up the puck and score. Nolan Ritchie and Troy Hamilton assisted.

Tisdale regained a 3-1 lead before the period closed. Ukrainetz scored with assists going to Zac Robins and Curtis.

Despite being down by two goals, Brandon out-shot Tisdale 18-13 in the period.

There appeared to be no scoring coming in the second frame, but the Trojan’s Dylan Ashe was handed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for a hit from behind with six minutes remaining. Solid penalty killing by Tisdale kept the Wheat Kings off the scoreboard.

Brandon’s Jared Twerdoclib took a checking from behind minor penalty just 19 seconds into the third period, allowing Chorney to put Tisdale up 4-1 at 1:00. He was assisted by Cade Hayes and Landon Kosior. Ukrainetz added another goal, assisted by Curtis and Schaff, three and a half minutes later to put the Trojans up 5-1. Chorney scored his hat-trick goal at 14:44, assisted by Ukrainetz and Schaff to further solidify Tisdale’s lead.

Letain stopped 30 of the 36 shots he faced in the match, while at the other end, Tisdale’s Bryson Garton stopped 32 of 33.

In Saturday’s other match between the Thunder Bay Kings of Northern Ontario and Saskatchewan’s Notre Dame Hounds, the teams closed their round robin play with a 1-1 tie. This result left them knotted at second following preliminary round play with a win, a loss and a tie each.

By virtue of a statistical tie-breaking mechanism, the Kings will play the unbeaten Trojans in Sunday’s TELUS West Region final. Both teams move on to Thunder Bay, Ont. for the 2019 TELUS Cup championship scheduled for April 22 to 28. Being host of the national meet, the Thunder Bay Kings have already earned a spot in the tournament.

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