Wheat Kings Win WHL Championship on Strength of Hawryluk’s Hat Trick

John Quenneville will get to skate for a Memorial Cup championship. The Brandon Wheat Kings won the WHL championship with a convincing 8-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on Friday.

Quenneville got the Wheat Kings off on the right foot, making it 1-0 with his 16th goal of the playoffs (from Reid Duke and Tim McGauley) at the 3:15 mark of the first period.

But Seattle would tie things up when Josh Uhrich scored his first of two from Andreas Schumacher and Brandon Schuldhaus just a little over five minutes later.

Right before the first intermission, Brandon would retake the lead when Macoy Erkamps scored (assists to Jayce Hawryluk (the first of his five points on the night) and Ivan Provorov. That one came on the power play.

The Wheat Kings would score an insurance goal on their first shot of the second period (just 1:33 in) when Tyler Coulter found the back of the net (assists to Hawryluk and Nolan Patrick).

But from there, Seattle began to apply pressure. They cut the Brandon lead to 3-2 when Uhrich scored his second of the game from Jarret Tyszka and Mathew Barzal at 2:38 of the second period. It would take them less than a minute to tie things up at three. Jarret Smith scored at 3:09 off assists from Barzal and Ethan Bear on the power play to knot things up.

It stayed that way for most of the second period until, at 12:38, Alexander True, the hero of game four, scored from Cavin Leth and Smith to give Seattle a 4-3 lead. But Brandon would not go away quietly. With just over a minute left in the second frame, Hawryluk came through to tie things up at four. McGauley had the lone assist.

If the second period showed Brandon’s resiliency to stay in the game, then the third showed that they had the heart of a champion. Patrick scored the game winner just 2:55 into the final period off assists from Mitch Wheaton and Kale Clague, and from there, the Wheat Kings just poured it on. It was just their second shot of the third frame.

Hawryluk scored his second of the game at 6:19 from Coulter and Patrick to make it 6-4. This goal came on the power play. At 16:41, Hawryluk completed the hat trick when he scored unassisted into an empty net.

Stelio Mattheos would also add an empty netter at 19:40 (assist to Duncan Campbell) to ice the game for Brandon and bring the WHL championship to the Manitoba city.

Brandon goaltender Jordan Papirny saw 31 Seattle shots and was equal to 27 of them in the win. For the T-Birds, Landon Bow saw 37 shots, grabbing 31 of them.

The win wrapped up the Wheat Kings’ 4-1 series victory over the T-Birds. Brandon had previously defeated the Edmonton Oil Kings four games to two, the Moose Jaw Warriors four games to one and the Red Deer Rebels four games to one before meeting the Thunderbirds in the final round.

The win sealed them the Ed Chynoweth Cup and the WHL championship.

Nolan Patrick ended the playoffs as the leading scorer with 30 points, Hawryluk right behind him with 29 points and Quenneville behind him with 27 points.

With this win, the Wheat Kings also punched their ticket back to Red Deer, Alberta at the end of May and the Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial Cup tournament. They will play in a round robin with the host Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, the London Knights (champions of the OHL) and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (champions of the QMJHL). The games will take place from May 19-29 at the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer. Brandon will begin the tournament on Saturday, May 21 against Rouyn-Noranda.

Marlies Tie Up Series with Rout of A-Devils in Game Four

The Toronto Marlies got goals from Mark Arcobello, Kasperi Kapanen, TJ Brennan, Brendan Leipsic and Connor Brown as well as a pair from Nikita Soshnikov to defeat the Albany Devils 7-2 and even up their AHL North Division Finals playoff series. The series now stands at two games apiece.

Albany opened the scoring off a Blake Pietila goal (assists to Matt Lorito and Damon Severson) to take a 1-0 lead at the Times Union Center but from there it was all Toronto. The Marlies led 2-1 after the first and 5-1 after the second, adding two more in the third. Albany added a late goal from Graham Black (assist to Severson) with 20 seconds remaining in the game to make the final 7-2.

Toronto was 4-for-9 on the power play, while Albany was 0-for-6. Marlies goalie Antoine Bibeau made 24 saves on 26 shots while Scott Wedgewood saw 17 shots and made 12 saves. Yann Danis came in in relief and made seven saves on nine shots faced.

Game five is Thursday at Albany with a 7 PM start. The Devils will look to get back on a winning track and move to within a game of the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals.

In IIHF World Championship news, Sergei Kalinin and Team Russia defeated Latvia on Monday 4-0. The Russians got goals from Artemi Panarin, Yevgeni Dadonov, Vadim Shipachyov and another from Panarin to down the Latvians on Russia’s home ice.

Kalinin had 13:32 of ice time on 20 shifts but did not register a shot or a point. Russia next faces Denmark on Thursday.

The WHL Finals shifted to the Pacific Northwest as the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington hosted game three between the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Seattle Thunderbirds. Brandon had won the first two games in overtime by identical 3-2 scores and were looking to go up three games to none and have a commanding lead over the T-Birds.

Devils prospect John Quenneville had both goals in regulation for the Wheat Kings as for a third straight game OT was needed to settle things and the final score was 3-2.

Quenneville opened the scoring just 5:17 into the first period (assists to Macoy Erkamps and Tim McGauley). Seattle then scored two power play goals to jump out to the 2-1 lead. Quenneville’s high sticking penalty set up the first goal, scored by Alexander True at 12:27 of the first (assists to Keegan Kolesar and Mathew Barzal). Kolesar then scored less than a minute later at 13:05 to give the Thunderbirds the lead (assists to Barzal and Ethan Bear).

And that was it for a period and a half, until Quenneville again broke through at 8:38 of the third period to knot things at two (assists to McGauley and Reid Duke). This would be it for regulation, as the game would head to a third straight overtime game with the final score guaranteed to be 3-2 again.

In the extra session, Brandon would go up 3 games to none and move to the verge of a WHL championship, representing that league in the Memorial Cup when Reid Duke scored just 2:59 in (assist to Mitch Wheaton). Quenneville was named the game’s second star (Seattle’s Barzal was the third and Duke was the first). Quenneville is now second in WHL playoff scoring with 26 points, behind only teammate Nolan Patrick, who has 27 points.

Seattle went 2-for-5 on the night with the extra man while Brandon was 0-for-3 on the power play. Wheat Kings’ goalie Jordan Papirny made 22 saves on 24 shots faced for the win while the Thunderbirds’ Landon Bow was 32-of-35 in the loss.

Game four, with the Wheat Kings able to clinch is Wednesday at Seattle.