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Hurricanes in Town to Face Warriors

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It's been a tough season so far for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, but that doesn't mean the Moose Jaw Warriors will be taking them lightly.

The Hurricanes roll into Moose Jaw on Tuesday night for a meeting with the tribe at Mosaic Place. It's the second time the two teams have met this season with Moose Jaw winning 5-1 in Lethbridge on Nov. 22.

Coming off a 4-1 loss to the Red Deer Rebels that saw the Warriors come out of the gate slow and surrender a 3-0 lead to the visiting team in the first period, the players know the importance of starting strong against the Canes.

“We need to come ready to play the first shift of the first period and finishing it all the way through the game, playing a full sixty minutes,” said 16-year-old forward Brett Howden after Monday's practice.

During Saturday's loss to Red Deer, the Warriors played strong for the final 40 minutes, but saw that their weak first period was too much to overcome. Despite Lethbridge being a lesser opponent than the Rebels, they know another slow start like that can' happen.

“They're a better than what their record is, so we're just coming here to be prepared and not underestimating them,” said Howden.

“We've got to compete every shift. You take one shift off and it could be a goal in your net and it could be the only goal of the game, so it's just competing every shift and working hard.”

The Warriors have been playing some good hockey as of late with six wins in their past ten games, while Lethbridge have went 1-8-0-1 in their past ten.

Focus will be the key word for the Warriors heading into Tuesday's meeting with the Hurricanes.

It's the final stretch run before the Christmas break for both teams with Moose Jaw playing in their final home game before heading up to Prince Albert on Wednesday to wrap up the first half. Lethbridge will head to Regina after Tuesday's game to finish a first half that has seen them post a 6-20-3-2 record.

Moose Jaw is hoping that they can add to the Hurricanes' loss column with two more meetings left between the two teams in the second half.

“Everyone is excited to go home and see their families and friends, but we've got to stay focused for these final two games,” said Howden. “These are four important points that we really need.”

You can catch all the action between the Warriors and Hurricanes live on Country 100, starting with the Pre-Game Show at 6:40pm. Puck drops at 7:00pm.

Bowen Recalled… The Warirors are shorthanded up front with Tanner Jeannot, Noah Gregor and Ben Duperreault all out with upper body injuries, and Brayden Point away at Canada's world junior selection camp. That has led the tribe to calling up 16-year-old forward Ryan Bowen. Bowen was selected in the fifth round, 95th overall, in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. Bowen is playing in the BCHL (Junior A) with the Chilliwack Chiefs and in 31 games this season, he has six goals, nine assists, 15 points, and 17 penalty minutes.

More Injury News... Gregor and defenceman Tyler Brown were both skating with the Warriors during practice on Monday, wearing non-contact yellow jerseys. Brown is recovering from a broken hand that is expected to keep him out until at least after the Christmas break, while Gregor has been progressing from a shoulder injury that has caused him to miss the past 25 games.

Red Hot Rodewald... 20-year-old Jack Rodewald enters the week fifth in the WHL in scoring with 47 points, five back of first. Rodewald has 18 goals and 29 assists in 32 games this season; he has five goals and 13 points in the last six games, and 11 goals and 29 points in the last 17 games.

Wray Added to Staff... Warriors alumnus Brennen Wray has been added to the team's coaching staff for the remainder of the season as a coaching assistant. Click here for more on the move.

Warriors Add Wray to Coaching Staff

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Brennen Wray is back with his hometown team.

The Moose Jaw Warriors alumnus was added to the team's coaching staff for the rest of the season as a coaching assistant, rejoining the team that he started his WHL career with.

The position will be used to transition Wray from his playing career to a coaching career.

“It's almost like a hockey internship,” said Warriors general manager Alan Millar. “It's an opportunity for Brennen to work with Tim Hunter and Mark O'Leary, learn the business.”

Wray will be in the press box during games serving as an “eye in the sky” for the Warriors' coaching staff. He will also help out at practice and do some video work with the team.

“Being a guy that can help out Tim and Mark in any areas that they see fit,” said Millar. “He can help the young guys out with in video and development and anything we need, so there's lots of great things about the move.”

Wray was originally drafted in the first round, 15th overall, by the Warriors in the 2003 WHL Bantam Draft. He played 171 games in a Warriors' uniform before finishing his WHL career with the Red Deer Rebels where he played 175 more games.

After his time in the WHL, Wray went on to play five seasons with the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men where he posted 23 goals and 51 points in 134 games, while acquiring a chemistry degree.

“It's great that we're able to bring Brennen in as a Moose Jaw guy, an alumnus as a team, someone who's played in the league and moved on to utilize his WHL scholarship. There's all kinds of positives,” said Millar.

Wray will be joining the Warriors' staff immediately.

Point Impressing at World Junior Camp

Warriors-Point-WJCamp-Dec14Brayden Point makes a pass in traffic against the Toronto CIS Selects during a 6-0 win for Canada on Sunday. (Photo: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images)

Brayden Point is showing the Hockey Canada brass what Moose Jaw Warrior fans have been seeing for the past three seasons.

The Warriors captain put on an impressive display in Canada's two exhibition wins against the Toronto CIS Selects over the weekend at the World Junior selection camp. He posted a goal and two points in Saturday's 10-3 win and then led Canada with two goals and three points in Sunday's 6-0 win.

“I was a little nervous in the first game, but as the game went on, you start to feel more comfortable, you start to make better plays with the puck and overall, I thought it was a comfortable experience,” said Point after Sunday's win.

The 18-year-old forward is trying to win a spot on Canada's roster for the World Junior Hockey Championship and this weekend was a good first step.

“Hopefully I can keep the way I'm playing going throughout the camp,” added Point

Playing right wing in the two games, the centre didn't look out of place as he sped up and down the ice, making plays for Canada at both ends of the ice.

TSN's Bob MacKenzie tweeted out after Sunday's game, “Another terrific outing for 5-foot-8, 160-pound Brayden Point. Best player on the ice for Team CAN for 2nd consecutive day.”

The praise didn't stop there as his head coach Benoit Groulx from the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL has liked what he's seen so far from Point.

“He's playing with a lot of passion, competes, he's got a flare out there, there's a lot of anticipation, he's been good,” said Groulx.

Hockey Canada made five cuts after Sunday's game, including Regina Pats forward Morgan Klimchuk and Calgary Hitmen defenceman Travis Sanheim. The other players released include: forwards Nick Baptiste and Remi Elie and defenceman Chris Bigras – a returnee from last year.

They will need to make three more cuts (two forwards and one defenceman) to get down to the 22-player roster for the tournament.

Canada practices over the next four days in St. Catherines, Ont. before opening their pre-tournament on Friday against Russia in Toronto. They will also play Sweden on Sunday and Switzerland on Tuesday in exhibition games before the start of the tournament on Boxing Day.

Rebels Hand Warriors 4-1 Loss

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Riding a three goal first period, the Red Deer Rebels went on to hand the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-1 loss Saturday at Mosaic Place.

Moose Jaw had a strong opening shift, pinning the Rebels deep inside their zone, but after that as the period went on the visitors took control.

Just over five minutes in to the game Mason McCarty feathered a pass from the right Warrior goal line to Meyer Nell in front of the net where he tapped in his seventh of the year.

At 12:40 Rebels 20-year-old Riley Sheen blazed down the Moose Jaw right wall, at the bottom of the circle he snapped a shot short-side over the glove of goalie Zach Sawchenko to make it 2-0.

Moose Jaw had late pressure on the Rebels net but unfortunately with 18 seconds left in the period Rebels defenceman Brett Cote dangled through the Moose Jaw zone then beat Sawchenko to make it 3-0 going in to the first intermission.

Moose Jaw looked much stronger in the second period, they had a stronger attack inside the Rebels line and they limited their turnovers in their defensive zone.

The best chance for the Warriors to get on the scoreboard came on a rush which ended with a Blake Bargar shot that rang of the post.  Unfortunately Moose Jaw wasn’t able to convert throughout the second and went into the third still down three.

Moose Jaw started the third period on the power play, 50 seconds in to the frame the Warriors pushed the puck the Rebels crease, rookie defenceman Dustin Perillat pinched from the blueline to join the scramble in front of the net where he banged in his fourth of the year.

Perillat’s goal was the 2014 Moose Jaw Warriors Teddy Bear Toss goal.  The team and volunteers picked up the bears, which will be given to the Moose Jaw Salvation Army, after the delay the Warriors kept their attack on but weren’t able to finish their drives to the net.

With their net empty with three minutes to go in the game Moose Jaw tried desperately to claw back in the game but was unable to jam the puck over the goal line.  With under two minutes remaining Red Deer added an empty net goal and went on to hand Moose Jaw a 4-1 loss, dropping their record to 15-15-2-1 on the season.

Moose Jaw is now off until Tuesday when they host the Lethbridge Hurricanes in their final home game before the Christmas break, they finish their pre-Christmas schedule Wednesday in Prince Albert.

December 13 v Red Deer

Moose Jaw Starters: G-Zach Sawchenko, D-Ryan Gardiner & Spenser Jensen, LW-Tanner Eberle, C-Jack Rodewald, RW-Torrin White

Moose Jaw Scratches: Tyler Brown, Ben Duperreault, Brayden Point, Noah Gregor, Reid Zalitach

Red Deer Starters: G-Rylan Toth, D-Kayle Doetzel & Brett Cote, LW-Presten Kopeck, C-Brooks Maxwell, RW-Wyatt Johnson

Red Deer Scratches: Nick Charif, Haydn Fleury, Adam Musil

Paulic 25 Saves in 3-0 Win Over Saskatoon

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Moose Jaw rode a strong performance from goalie Justin Paulic Friday in a 3-0 win over the Saskatoon Blades at SaskTel Centre in the Bridge City.

Saskatoon had early pressure inside the Warriors zone, they’re fore-check was aggressive and in the opening minutes were able to create a 4-1 advantage on the shot clock.

As the first period went on the Warriors got stronger, the fore-check was consistent and created plenty of attack time, and they were able to force Saskatoon in to turnovers to keep the puck in the offensive zone.

At the ten minute mark Blades defenseman Amil Krupic whiffed on a pass to the neutral zone, Warriors import Jiri Smejkal pounced on the puck and drove down the Saskatoon left wall.  Smejkal rushed inside the left circle where he shelved a wrist shot over goalie Nik Amundrud for his third goal of the season.

Moose Jaw’s penalty kill was inches away from adding to their lead late in the first.  Tanner Eberle forced the Blades in to a turnover on their breakout, his initial shot went off the post and then on the rebound Amundrud sprawled across his crease to get a piece of another Eberle shot.

Saskatoon goalie Nik Amundrud was busy in the opening period as the Warriors held a 13-7 advantage on the shot clock, plus he was forced in to making several acrobatic saves.  Justin Paulic was calm between the pipes, he limited his rebounds, and on the most notable opportunity for Saskatoon on a rush up the ice he denied Nikita Soshnin on top of the left crease.

The second period saw the Warriors once again attack the Saskatoon net, outshooting the Blades 13-6 in the period, but on every quality scoring chance Amundrud was there to make a stellar save to keep Saskatoon in the game.

Saskatoon pushed the Warriors in the third period, they outshot the tribe 12-6 in the final frame but Warriors veteran goalie Justin Paulic turned them away on all chances.

In the final minute the Blades pulled their goalie twice, and both times the Warriors found the empty net, goals from Torrin White and Tanner Eberle, lifting Moose Jaw to the 3-0 win.

Paulic finished the game with 25 saves, posting his first shutout of the season, Saskatoon’s Nik Amundrud made 29 saves in the loss.

Moose Jaw’s weekend continues Saturday when they’re at home to battle the Red Deer Rebels, catch all the action on Country 100 starting with the PreGame Show at 6:40pm.

Saturday is the Warriors annual Teddy Bear & Toque Toss, fans are encouraged to bring a plush toy, mitts, scarfs, or toques, put them in plastic bags, and when the Warriors score their first goal throw them on the ice where they’ll be collected and donated to the Moose Jaw Salvation Army.

As well, special guest Cameron Hughes will be in attendance, Hughes is a sports entertainer who blends in with fans and cheers loudly.  He’s been to numerous events throughout the world, some notables include the MasterCard Memorial Cup, the World Junior Hockey Championships, the 2011 US Open (tennis), and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

 

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