BRANDON — The Brandon Wheat Kings were bent on gaining a measure of revenge Friday night.
Losers of their first two Western Hockey League meetings with the Red Deer Rebels this season by a whopping 14-0 margin, it was payback time for the Wheat Kings who rolled to a 4-0 victory before 4,039 fans at Westman Place.
Netminder Rylan Toth was the Rebels’ best player, turning aside 29 of 32 shots through two periods before being replaced by Trevor Martin at the start of the third period.
“The story tonight was pretty simple — if it wasn’t for our goalie it would have been a lot worse than 4-0,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “Our goalie was outstanding.”
Unfortunately, the visitors didn’t have enough additional players who performed at that level.
“We didn’t play with the intensity and emotion we needed to have,” said Sutter. “We can’t play that way. We’ve added skill to our team, but if you think we’re just going to win games on skill it’s not going to happen.”
Jordan Thomson notched the only goal the Wheat Kings would need at 13:13 of the first period and the hosts pretty much put the game out of reach with second-period markers from Tyler Coulter, on the power play, and Nolan Patrick.
The Rebels were outshot 16-11 in the opening period and 16-6 in the middle frame. Sutter pulled Toth after 40 minutes to give the stopper a rest prior to tonight’s game in Swift Current.
“It was just to give Tother a break before tomorrow night,” said the Rebels boss. “The quality (scoring) chances were something like 19-7 after two periods.”
Martin didn’t falter in a back-up role, stopping 14 of the 15 shots he faced in the final frame. Brandon defenceman Macoy Erkamps netted a power-play goal at 6:58 to round out the scoring.
Sutter knew full well that the Wheat Kings would be fired up heading into the contest after being embarrassed in a 10-0 loss at Red Deer Jan. 2.
“We just didn’t match their intensity and emotion,” he said. “They played well and they played hard and we didn’t match it.”
Brandon netminder Jordan Papirny made 29 saves to record the shutout and was selected as the game’s first star. The Wheat Kings were two-for five on the power play, while the Rebels were zero-for-one.
The Rebels, who opened their three-game jaunt with a 1-0 overtime win over the Moose Jaw Warriors Wednesday, can still make it a successful road trip with a win tonight over the Broncos.
“We have to go in there and play well, we have to respond and rebound,” said Sutter. “Tonight’s game was not a good game for us, it was a very similar to how we played against Vancouver (in a 6-5 overtime loss to the visiting Giants last Saturday).
“The difference was we played a much higher-level team tonight.”
Red Deer’s next home game is Wednesday versus Moose Jaw.