It looked like the Saskatoon Blazers were going to complete the comeback win on Wednesday night in Outlook, but Moose Jaw’s Liam Fitzpatrick had other plans as he scored with 18 seconds left in overtime to secure the 6-5 win for the WINMAR AAA Warriors.
His goal not only won the game but earned him the hat trick, completing a four-point night, and was chosen as the team’s hardest worker.
"I was just busting back, as hard as I could," says Fitzpatrick following Wednesday night's game. "I saw the puck come back to the corner and I saw an open lane, then I picked it up and the adrenaline kicked in and I was skating as hard as I could and then pulled it to the backhand and it barely went in."
Ryan Bain had another solid performance in net for the Warriors as he stopped 44 shots in the win, and had the save of the game in overtime to keep his team in it and eventually win the game. Bain also picks up his second win in a row as do the WINMAR Warriors.
All these heroics came after the Blazers stormed back from two third-period two-goal deficits. The first was early in the third period when they were able to tie the game at 3-3, and then Tyson Yaremko scored with 25 seconds left in the game to tie the game at 5-5, which would set up the overtime thriller.
Warriors head coach, Trevor Weisgerber liked the pushback his team presented after giving up those two leads.
“I just liked the resilience of our group with coming back,” notes Weisgerber. “We pushed the pace quite a bit, our second period wasn’t great, but our first period was really good, and our third period – when we weren’t killing was really good too. I was happy with how the guys pushed and their determination to compete and battle and win the hockey game at the end of the day.”
This win is even sweeter, as they were able to take down the first-place Blazers and earn the extra point, which improves their record to 7-8-0-3 and take over sole possession of 7th place with 17 points.
Other notable players for Moose Jaw were Jake Briltz and Ryder Knutson. Briltz finished the game with a goal and four assists, while Knutson had himself a two-point night.
To start the game Moose Jaw faced a lot of adversity, as the Blazers through 13 shots on Bain, but he stood the test and shut the door.
Moose Jaw was able to find their legs about halfway through the first period to break the 0-0 deadlock.
Liam Fitzpatrick was able to find some room and rifle it past Blazers netminder Alex Garrett to make it 1-0 for Fitzpatrick’s eighth goal of the season. Jake Briltz and Grady Hoffman would get assists on the goal.
Fitzpatrick wasn't done there. Seven minutes later, he was able to find twine once again for his second of the game and ninth of the season. Briltz added the helper.
Moose Jaw would take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission and trail in the shot department 13-12.
The Warriors would extend their lead to 3-0 just over halfway into the second period. On the powerplay, Ryder Knutson would get the puck in the slot and beat Garrett over the shoulder for his fourth goal of the year.
It was looking like the Warriors would take a 3-0 lead into the second intermission, but the Blazers were able to break the shutout for Bain.
With 1:19 left in the period, after a scramble play at the side of the net, Tyson Yaremko was able to deflect the puck off the skate of Bain and have it trickle in to cut the deficit to 3-1 for his first of the game.
Shots after 40 minutes of play were 33-19 for Saskatoon.
Saskatoon eventually was able to tie the game at 3-3 just under halfway through the third period.
Josh Knittig and Lee Shurgot were able to find the back of the net with both goals coming 2:20 apart, and just like that, the game was tied.
Moose Jaw would steal that momentum right back, as they would answer with two quick goals of their own. It all started with Dylan Duzan picking up his eighth of the season, as he one-timed home a cross-ice pass from Fitzpatrick and beat Garrett low blocker to take the 4-3 lead.
Just over a minute later, Jake Briltz came flying down the left wing and put the puck on net, which deflected off a Blazers skate and squeaked through Garrett to make it 5-3. Drew Flegar and Knutson would pick up the assists.
The back-and-forth affair continued, as it looked like Moose Jaw was going to come away with the win, but the Blazers stormed back once again.
Saskatoon pulled the goalie for the extra attacker and with 1:59 left in the game, Luke Dahlen was able to find Corban Almen on the back door for the easy tap-in to make it 5-4.
This set up Tyson Yaremko’s game-tying goal with 25 seconds left, as he was able to deflect home a point shot through a screened Bain to tie the game at 5-5.
Then in overtime, Liam Fitzpatrick – with 18 seconds left would cut to the front of the net on a breakaway and backhand it past Garrett for the overtime win.
The final shots of goal were 46-28 for Saskatoon. Each team earned a powerplay goal on the night as Moose Jaw went 1-for-6 and Saskatoon 1-for-5.
Wednesday’s win builds a lot of momentum for the Warriors, as they hit the road this weekend for a two-game road series in Prince Albert against the Mintos. Game one goes Saturday night at the Art Hauser Centre at 7:00 p.m. Game two is Sunday afternoon and has a 1:30 p.m. puck drop.
With a hopeful two wins this weekend Moose Jaw will try and get over .500 and try and move into sixth place, which is being held by the Mintos.