Back to Routine for Warriors
The Warriors hit the ice at the Red Knight Arena on Tuesday afternoon.
There was one more road trip for the Moose Jaw Warriors on Tuesday before they could return to their regular routine.
With Mosaic Place still being converted back into a hockey rink following the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the Warriors' first practice after their lengthy seven-game, 11-day road trip actually saw the team hitting the road again as they went to the Red Knight Arena at 15 Wing Moose Jaw.
While that is a slight change from normal, the team was happy to be back in Moose Jaw and getting back to their regular routine after spending two weeks together on the road.
“It's good to be back, long road trip, not really enjoying the weather here so far, but it's good to be back at home and it's going to be nice to play a couple home games this weekend,” said forward Tanner Eberle.
The Warriors were able to post a 3-3-1 record during the road trip, which is the first time all season that they posted a .500-record will out on the road. That's something that was encouraging to the team as they try to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
“Overall, we feel good about ourselves, we're going to run the table here at home with eight wins and then get a few more points out on the road,” said head coach Tim Hunter after putting the team through its paces on Tuesday.
The road trip started and ended with losses for the Warriors, which is something they wished wouldn't have been the case as they were two winnable games. Hot goaltenders for both Lethbridge and Prince George allowed them to hold off the Warriors and keep them from putting up five wins on the road.
Their only other regulation loss came in a tough game against the Kelowna Rockets, which was on a Saturday night after playing in Kootenay the night before, a tough test for even the best teams in the Western Hockey League.
“We should have won five games,” said Hunter. “We should have won in Lethbridge, we out-chanced them 2-to-1, 24-13, we just couldn't get a goal on the power play. Then losing in Vancouver, we should have won, and we should have won in PG as well, all winnable games.
“All positives, I thought the goaltending was good and we scored enough goals five-on-five, but it would have been nice to get a few more goals on the power play.”
The Warriors were able to score first in five of the seven games on the trip, including each of the last four games. Setting the tone early is something that they're hoping to take away from the road trip as they return home for the final playoff push.
“(Scoring the first goal) is something that our team seems to thrive on, once we get that first one we seem to play a lot better, so as long as we continue to get that first goal of the game, our team's going to continue to move forward,” said Eberle.
“The road trip was perfect for us, we played a lot of high skilled teams and us beating Victoria gave us a lot of confidence, that's a good club,” he added. “Going into the final stretch here, we see what the good teams play like and that's like a marker point for us, so that's something that we want to play like.”
The Warriors will play eight of their final 12 regular season games on home ice at Mosaic Place, starting with a pair this weekend as they welcome in the Saskatoon Blades on Friday and the Regina Pats on Saturday. Moose Jaw will also travel to Regina on Sunday.
Warriors Go .500 On Road Trip; Back Home Friday
Brett Howden and the Moose Jaw Warriors have made their way back to Moose Jaw after a seven-game road trip.
Outside of the start and the finish, the Moose Jaw Warriors should be coming away happy with the way that their seven-game road trip went.
Being kicked out of their rink for two weeks due to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the Warriors embarked on a season-long seven-game road trip. The tribe went 3-3-1 on the trek that started in Lethbridge on February 11th and ended ten days later in Prince George.
Moose Jaw ended up losing both those games, which is a tough pill to swallow despite playing well throughout much of the trip.
“It was a pretty good road trip, we wanted to end it off on a high note, but it was just a sour night for us,” said forward Brett Howden after their 4-2 loss to the Prince George Cougars on Saturday.
The road trip was a tough stretch for the Warriors, especially coming so late in the season. The team needed points to stay in the playoff race and they were able to grab seven of a possible 14.
That’s a positive sign, but the Warriors are always left feeling like they left some out there as well.
“The record, if it was earlier on in the year, we would have taken it a lot easier, going .500 on a tough stretch like this, that’s certainly something that you can be proud of,” said Mark O’Leary, Warriors assistant coach. “It’s tougher to handle right now when the playoff race is so tight.
“We’ll certainly take it, we have to at this point, but we have a big weekend coming up next weekend at home.”
If the Warriors are able to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoffs this year, in order to have success, they’re going to have to win on the road and that’s what they were able to do on this road trip.
Three of the final four games on the road trip were decided by one goal, which allowed the Warriors to get a playoff feel as well. Howden said that was big for them.
“It feels like playoff hockey right now and if we want to make the playoffs, we’ve got to bear down right now,” he said. “We couldn’t do that (in the finale against Prince George), but throughout the road trip, I felt we played pretty well.”
The Warriors come off the road trip sitting seven points back of the Edmonton Oil Kings for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Edmonton won 5-1 over the Central Division-leading Medicine Hat Tigers on Sunday night to re-gain that seven-point lead.
Moose Jaw does have a favourable schedule down the stretch for a playoff push with eight of their last 12 games coming at home where the team has a 14-11-3-0 record this season.
The Warriors will return to home ice on Friday and Saturday against the Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats as the team celebrates their 30th anniversary agains their two biggest rivals.
Warriors Finish Trip With Loss In Prince George
Moose Jaw created opportunities but weren’t able to capitalize Saturday as they fell 4-2 in Prince George in their road trip finale.
Moose Jaw was able to catch the Cougars early in the game. Tanner Eberle muscled his way to the high slot for a shot, the puck bounced off the pads of Ty Edmonds and with a scramble in front of the net Austin Adam came off the blue line for a slapshot that found twine at 1:39.
Prince George responded three minutes later. The Warriors had an opportunity to move the puck out of their zone but headed south instead. Jansen Harkins was aggressive on the fore-check, stripping Moose Jaw of the puck then feeding Chase Witala on the bottom of the left circle where he scored to even the game at one.
Throughout the rest of the first period both teams had chances but with less than a minute remaining it was the Cougars who found twine. Harkins and Witala pressured the Warriors on the fore-check in the right corner, they fed the puck to Josh Connolly at the blue line where he ripped a slapshot past Brody Willms, who was heavily screened, giving Prince George the one-goal lead.
Just over a minute in to the second period the Cougars fore-check was able to generate another Connolly shot from the blue line in to traffic that found the back of the net to make it 3-1.
As the period continued the Warriors started to generate more opportunities. Moments after having a goal waived off for accidental contact on the goaltender the Warriors were able to respond. Situated on the Cougars right half wall, Axel Blomqvist moved the puck below the goal line for Jack Rodewald who then played the puck off of Brayden Point for a cut that cut in to the Cougars lead.
In the final minute of the second Prince George had a golden opportunity to add to their lead as Jari Erricson was given a penalty shot. Warriors’ 16-year-old goalie Brody Willms held his ground, making a key blocker save to keep the Warriors within one going in to the intermission.
Moose Jaw peppered the Cougar net in the third period, throwing 15 shots on Ty Edmonds but they weren’t able to claw back in the game. Instead Prince George was able to add an insurance goal with just over four minutes remaining.
Chase Witala led Prince George with two goals and four points while Ty Edmunds made 33 saves, Brody Willms made 36 saves in the loss. Moose Jaw finished 0-for-5 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.
The Warriors went 3-3-1 on their season high seven game road trip, capturing seven of a possible 14 points.
Moose Jaw is now off until next weekend when they host Saskatoon Friday and Regina Saturday. This is 30th Anniversary Weekend for the organization where they will unveil the results of the fan vote for the All-Time Team.
Celebrate 30 years for $30 next weekend. A weekend package for adult tickets to both games is available for $30, which is a $10 savings.
Moose Jaw Edges Kamloops 4-3
Brayden Point scored a hat trick Friday, leading the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 4-3 win over Kamloops at Interior Savings Centre.
Kamloops utilized their speed to attack the Warriors zone early in the game but Zach Sawchenko was sharp, turning away the Blazers on all opportunities.
Four and a half minutes in to the period and on the power play, Dustin Perillat put a shot wide of the Kamloops net, goalie Connor Ingram was stuck on top of his crease as the puck came off the end boards and to Brayden Point on the right goal line where he chipped in his 24th of the year.
Moose Jaw went up by a pair with just over seven minutes remaining in the period. Point led a two-on-two rush up the ice with Tanner Eberle. With the Captain on the left wing he cut to the middle of the Blazer zone and used Eberle as a decoy, Point let a shot go that beat Ingram blocker side for his second of the period.
To start the second period the Blazers got into penalty problems, handing the Warriors four power plays including a lengthy two-man advantage. On their fourth power play the Warriors moved the puck around the Blazer zone, between the circles Axel Blomqvist moved the puck to Brett Howden inside the right circle who then quickly fed Jack Rodewald for a one-timer to make it 3-0 at the nine minute mark.
14 seconds later Blazers leading scorer Cole Ully drove down the Moose Jaw right wall and crashed the Warriors net, finishing the play with his 29th. 20 seconds later Joel Hamilton cashed in on a wraparound to make it 3-2.
With under five minutes to go in the period Brayden Point showcased his skill. Point came across the Kamloops line, put the puck between his legs then danced around the Blazers defenseman. The Captain came to the bottom left circle then drove the net, deking out the goaltender for his hat trick goal.
Kamloops tried to claw back in the game in the final period, they outshot the Warriors 14-5 in the frame and managed a goal in the final minute to cut the deficit to within one. In the final moments the Warriors were able to hold on for the narrow win.
Brayden Point had three goals for the Warriors, Axel Blomqvist and Dustin Perillat had two assists, and Zach Sawchenko made 31 saves. Joel Hamilton led the Blazers with two goals. Moose Jaw finished 2-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Moose Jaw’s season high seven game road trip concludes Saturday with a trip up to Prince George for their only meeting of the season against the Cougars. Last season Prince George edged the Warriors 2-1 January 31st in Moose Jaw. Josh Uhrich scored the lone Warriors goal, Todd Fiddler and Marc McNulty had the tallies for the Cougars.
Two years ago in Prince George the Cougars beat the Warriors 2-1 on December 4, 2012. Sam Fioretti scored the only Moose Jaw goal, while Jarrett Fontaine and Daulton Siwak notched goals for the Cougars.
Moose Jaw’s last win over the Cougars was a 6-0 decision October 10, 2011 in Mosaic Place. That night Andrew Johnson had a goal and three points, Collin Bowman and Torrin White had two goals each, Carter Hansen had a goal and two points, and Tanner Eberle and Joe Kornelsen had two assists each.
Catch all the action from CN Centre in Prince George Saturday starting with the Country 100 Westrum Lumber Timber Mart PreGame Show at 8:40pm.
Warriors Drop OT Game in Vancouver
Warriors defenceman Spenser Jensen had a goal in the tribe's 3-2 overtime loss to Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon.
Moose Jaw’s only meeting of the season to Vancouver was a tight contest, the Warriors scored early in the third to tie the game but weren’t able to sneak in a game winner as they lost 3-2 in overtime.
The first period saw the teams establish a quick pace which led to plenty of excitement for the fans in attendance for “Hockey Hooky Day” in Vancouver.
Both teams created chances in the opening twenty minutes, they combined for 16 shots, but goalies Brody Willms and Payton Lee kept the game scoreless.
The Warriors started the second period strong, they pressured the Giants below their goal line forcing the in to a pair of turnovers. Set up behind the net Axel Blomqvist fed Dustin Perillat, who was pinching off the blueline as the Warriors collapsed on Vancouver’s home plate. Lee stopped Perillat’s shot but the rebound came to Jack Rodewald in the left circle where he hammered home his 27th of the year.
As the period continued the Warriors had chances to add to their lead but weren’t able to roll the puck across the goal line.
The Giants on the other hand were able to utilize their speed, especially on the fore-check where they were able to create turnovers and second chances.
With five and a half minutes remaining in the period Vancouver found themselves on the power play and were able to capitalize on a goal from Thomas Foster. The Giants went up 2-1 with 31 seconds left in the period when a Mason Geertsen shot from the left circle in to the traffic beat Willms.
Six minutes in to the third period the Warriors found the equalizer. Moose Jaw crashed the Giants net for a scramble, the puck came to defenseman Spencer Jensen who unloaded a slapshot from behind the circles that beat Lee to even the game at two.
Throughout the remainder of regulation the teams pressed for a game winner but neither was successful, sending the game in to overtime.
In the final minute of the extra period, and with a shootout looming, Tyler Benson beat the Warriors on the Moose Jaw left wall then drove hard to the goal line. Benson swung the puck to Geertsen at the right circle where his shot beat Willms, giving the Giants the 3-2 lead.
Geertsen finished the game with two goals and three points, while Warriors goalie Brody Willms made 29 saves and was named the game’s first star. Moose Jaw was 0-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Warriors' Road Trip Continues in Kamloops
Moose Jaw’s season high seven game road trip shift to Kamloops for a battle against the Blazers on Friday at Interior Savings Centre.
This is the first and only meeting of the season between the Warriors and Blazers. Last season, the Warriors posted a 5-2 win over Kamloops on Dec. 15 at Mosaic Place. Brayden Point had two goals and three points, Tanner Eberle and Sam Fioretti had a goal and two points each, while on the other side of the ice Cole Ully led the Blazers with a goal and two points.
Two years ago in their last meeting in Kamloops, the Warriors posted a 3-2 shootout win Dec. 1. Travis Brown and Morgan Rielly had one goal each for the Warriors, while Tyler Bell and Colin Smith had one goal each for the Blazers.
Moose Jaw is 5-0 against the Blazers in the last five years and they have posted seven straight wins in Kamloops. The Warriors last loss was a 5-4 overtime decision Dec. 29, 2006. Jordan Knackstedt led the Warriors with a goal and two points, Reid Jorgensen and Brock Nixon led Kamloops with three points each.
Moose Jaw’s last loss in Kamloops was ten years ago, Jan. 7, 2005, the Blazers edged the Warriors 2-1. Riley Holzapfel scored the lone goal for the Warriors, Raymond Macias led the Blazers with two assists, and Victor Bartley and Reid Jorgensen had one goal each.
Catch all the action Friday starting with the Country 100 Westrum Lumber Timber Mart PreGame Show at 8:40pm.
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