It wasn't pretty for 40 mintues, but the Moose Jaw Warriors got the job done when it counted on Tuesday night against the Victoria Royals. They scored three in the third period to come storming back for a 4-3 shootout win at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
“After we did so many good things in Red Deer, to come back and put up that kind of effort in the first 40 wasn't really acceptable, but they rebounded and we'll take that any day,” said assistant coach Mark O'Leary on the Country 100 Post-Game Show.
The tribe trailed 2-0 heading into the final frame and didn't get on the board until midway through the period when Travis Brown picked up his fourth of the season after some hard work from Brett Brooks – who got his first point of the season with an assist on the goal – and Miles Warkentine.
O'Leary says that line, which also included Brandon Potomak for the night, played with a lot of energy throughout the game and was the team's best line, “They certainly don't get as many opportunities as a lot of other lines, but they were pretty good and it was just pure work ethic. You're happy for them and any time they can contribute, that's just great for the team.”
Assistant coach Mark O'Leary Post-Game
The Royals were able to regain the two-goal lead just three minutes after Brown's marker as Tim Traber scored his first of the season on a breakaway to make it 3-1 for Victoria with under seven minutes to go.
That's when the Warriors turned it on as they continued to press the Royals hard and at 16:06 of the third, Justin Kirsch scored a power play goal to pull Moose Jaw within one. The Warriors continued to come at the Royals and with just over a minute to go in the game, Morgan Rielly stepped in front of a Royals breakout pass and fed Brayden Point between the circles where he ripped his seventh of the year to tie the game at 3-3.
Overtime solved nothing, meaning for the second straight night, the Warriors were going to the shootout, which haven't been good to the tribe so far this season, losing all four coming into the game.
Victoria's Logan Nelson scored on the first chance and Brayden Point was stopped; Justin Kirsch scored in the second round to the shootout at 1-1; Ben Walker, Sam Fioretti, and then Alex Gogolev – who scored in the second period for Victoria – were all stopped on the next shots; that set up Jordan Messier to be the hero for Moose Jaw as snapped the puck past Patrik Polivka for the 4-3 win.
“The third period we came out with nothing to lose, and even giving up a goal right after we got on the board and to their credit it would have been pretty easy to shut it down there,” said O'Leary. “Maybe the Hockey Gods were just on our side. We pulled off a win when we weren't very good for most of the night.”
Daniel Wapple got the start for the Warriors and made 19 saves to pick up the win. Polivka was very good for the Royals in the loss, making 33 saves.
Both teams finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play in a very rough game at the start with several scrums around the net in the first period resulting in lots of four-on-four play.
Point finished the game with a goal and two points to lead the way for Moose Jaw. “Even in the first two periods when we weren't as strong, he still made some plays that just make you shake your head. He's so skilled and slippery for a little guy, and comes up with so many loose pucks, so he was just doing his thing and (the game tying goal) was obviously a big one.”
The win moves Moose Jaw to .500 on their current seven-game road trip and improves their record to 9-11-3-4 on the year. They sit in a four-way tie for second in the East Division.
The tribe will now back up the bus and head back on the ferry to the mainland where they'll take on the Vancouver Giants on Wednesday night at the Pacific Coliseum. The Pre-Game Show will be on the air on Country 100 starting at 8:40pm.
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