Brandon goes home with chokehold on series with Hitmen

Once the first domino fell, the rest, apparently, were sure to follow. Brandon Wheat Kings winger Braylon Shmyr set off a landslide of second-period goals Wednesday night at the Saddledome, his marker at 10:38 of the middle frame being the first of four tallies by the visitors within a span of 5:50.

Once the first domino fell, the rest, apparently, were sure to follow.

Brandon Wheat Kings winger Braylon Shmyr set off a landslide of second-period goals Wednesday night at the Saddledome, his marker at 10:38 of the middle frame being the first of four tallies by the visitors within a span of 5:50.

The outburst turned an otherwise competitive game into a rout as the visiting Wheat Kings rolled to an 8-3 win over the Calgary Hitmen and grabbed a 3-1 chokehold on the Eastern Conference final series.

Game 5 goes tonight in Brandon.

The Hitmen were basically clueless as to why the game got away from them in the second period.

“I don’t know if you can narrow it down to one thing,” Calgary captain Kenton Helgesen told Scott Fisher of the Calgary Sun. “They got one on us and we weren’t able to follow it up with a good shift.

“We have to learn from that. After we get scored on, or after we score a goal, we have to get back to our game and re-set.”

For now, though, the Hitmen have to focus on merely staying alive.

“They’re a good team in their building,” Hitmen star forward Adam Tambellini told Fisher. “They proved that all year. But we need to go there and steal a game.”

And that’s just to get the series back to Calgary. The Hitmen will have to win twice at Brandon if they are to battle all the way back.

l Rocky Mountain House native and former Red Deer midget AAA Optimist Chiefs forward Layne Bensmiller opened the scoring 13:46 into Wednesday’s contest with his first goal of the playoffs. The goal provided the Hitmen with their first lead of the series.

• Elsewhere Wednesday, the visiting Kelowna Rockets held off a late and furious push by the Portland Winterhawks and held on for a 3-2 win to even their Western Conference final set at two games apiece.

The ‘Hawks came hard in the final minute with Rockets defenceman Madison Bowey serving a delay of game penalty after shooting the puck over the glass.

And yet, the Rockets captain insisted he wasn’t worried while watching the hosts go to work on a six-on-four power play over the final 56 seconds.

“It bounced kinda weird and as I was shooting it, it flipped up,” Bowey told Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier, in regards to his penalty.

“It happens. It’s hockey. But to be honest, I really wasn’t nervous in the box. I knew we had the right guys out there and it felt like we couldn’t lose. They got the job done and killed that last minute off.”

The series resumes tonight in Kelowna.

• Nic Petan scored once for Portland in Wednesday’s setback, extending his playoff point streak to 15 games. He also appeared in his 86th career playoff game, leaving him just one off the WHL record held by former Red Deer Rebels forward Shay Stephenson, who suited up for 87 post-season contests from 2000 to 2004.

• If the Everett Silvertips can reel in the big fish in their sights during the off-season, their advertising slogan for the 2015-16 WHL campaign will be clear — Coming soon to a rink near you: Auston Matthews.

The ‘Tips selected the 17-year-old from Phoenix in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft, his stock teetering at that point because of his indecision regarding which path he will follow.

Matthews, considered one of the premier hockey prospects in the world, is still undecided as to whether he will play for Everett next season or take his talents to the NCAA. Although he has yet to visit any of the schools, he’s reportedly narrowed his choices to Boston College, Boston University, Denver, Michigan and North Dakota.

Currently with the U.S. national team development program’s under-18 team, Matthews visited Everett last summer and has stated publicly that he’s 50-50 on coming to the WHL or playing at a U.S. college.

So great are the youngster’s talents that ‘Tips general manager Garry Davidson told Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald that Matthews would make an instant impact with the team if he chooses to head to the Pacific Northwest.

“I think he would be what we call a ‘seven’ in our business: a franchise player,” said Davidson. “I think the Matthews decision can make a big difference in a lot of ways. It could have an impact on us getting Euros, it could have an impact on anyone on our (protected) list. They could see it being a real plus to be here next year if (Matthews) is here.”

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