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Hitmen Drop Close Battle

Candice Ward/Photo

Back to the drawing board.

The Hitmen battled but in the end fell 3-1 to the Brandon Wheat Kings Friday night, snapping their two-game win streak. With the loss, their record now falls to 22-14-4-1.

Josh Prokop provided the lone marker for the visitors while Brayden Peters gave his club every chance to win, making 31 stops which included a pair of highlight reel saves in the third period.

Duncan Pierce, Jake Chiasson and Neithan Salame, into an empty-net, all tallied the goals and Jiri Patera finished with 30 saves.

Most of the damage was done in the opening 20 minutes as Brandon would strike just 1:43 into the contest jumping out to a fast start with the goal coming courtesy of Pierce’s fifth of the season.

Goals in the first minute and last minute are always tough, the Wheat Kings got both.

With 58 seconds left in the frame, the home side capitalized on a power play with a scramble play in front of the net as Chiasson finished it off for the 2-0 lead.

After a stalemate in the middle period, both clubs traded chances in the final 20 minutes where the goaltenders were shining bright.

Specifically the work of the 17-year-old Peters.

With the Wheat Kings enjoying another man advantage, Peters looked down and out as Luka Burzan had a wide open net, but Peters robbed him stretching out to make the dazzling glove save.

It was then followed up by yet another spectacular stop this time on Connor Gutenberg as he went cross crease to make the right shoulder save to keep the game within reach.

With the play of their goaltender, the Hitmen found a boost of momentum as Prokop was finally able to solve Patera as he deflected a Carson Focht shot for his tenth of the season, a new career high.

But that was as close as the Hitmen would come, as the empty-netter would seal the deal and give the Wheat Kings their eighth straight win.

The Hitmen will now look to regroup with a pair of games in Winnipeg to take on the ICE , with the first meeting of the season Saturday night.

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