BRANDON -- Rejean Beauchemin wasn't pleased with his performance in Game 1 of the series with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He was all smiles last night, though.
RAIDERS 3 WHEAT KINGS 2
The Wheaties put up a valiant effort but a solid goaltending performance by Beauchemin was too much to overcome as Brandon lost 3-2 to the Prince Albert Raiders in Game 2 of the WHL Eastern Conference final at the Keystone Centre.
The best-of-seven series is now tied at one game apiece.
"(Brandon) had a lot of chances," Beauchemin said afterwards. "We did a good job in the first of keeping them to the outside but they're a fast team and they create chances."
After a first period where Brandon and the 4,658 in attendance were left with their collective heads spinning (thanks to goals from Raiders Rick Kozak, Brandon product Mike Hellyer, and Dane Byers), the Wheaties regrouped and came out with a vengeance in the second.
Which where Beauchemin comes in.
The Raiders netminder stopped two Brandon breakaways -- from Lance Monych and Jakub Sindel -- and made several key saves to snuff out any rally the Wheaties had concocted during the intermission.
"It was nice, that's what I'm there for," the Winnipeg netminder said about 1-on-1 showdowns. "I have to be there for my guys."
Monych eventually prevailed on his second breakaway in the period, beating Beauchemin high to the glove side, and Brandon was down two with 20 minutes to go.
The Wheaties pressured the Raiders throughout the third but couldn't find the equalizer.
"They're a good team and they're going to have their pushes," Prince Albert head coach Peter Anholt said. "Reggie was great, there's no doubt about that. you know what? I thought we bent but we didn't break, and that's what it's all about.
"When you get to this time of year, you're going to give up some chances and your goaltender has got to be good."
Monych scored both goals for the Wheat Kings, giving him 11 this post season.
Brandon head coach Kelly McCrimmon knew once his club committed the cardinal sin twice (giving up goals in the first or final minute of a period) it would be a long night.
"You want to avoid that at all costs," he said. "To our credit, the guys played hard. We certainly had enough opportunities to score three goals."
Brandon outshot Prince Albert 34-33.
The clubs will now enjoy a couple days off before meeting for Games 3 and 4 at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Raiders are unbeaten at home this spring. The fifth game will be played back in Brandon on Friday. All games are at 7:30 p.m.
NOTE: The league deemed that Raiders defenceman Chris Schlenker will not be suspended for his slashing major and game ejection on Friday.
Schlenker hacked Brandon's Jeff Topilko on the back of the knee during a melee at the end of the second period.