It’s a perfect 2-0 start to the season for the Moose Jaw Winmar AAA Warriors as they doubled up the Battleford Stars 8-4 on Saturday afternoon at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.
Momentum shifts between both teams were the story of the game, especially in the second period, as each club traded chances and goals minutes after each other throughout most of the game.
In the end, the Winmar Warriors stay perfect to start the season and had a successful weekend.
“We’re happy with the four points,” says Warriors head coach, Trevor Weisgerber. “Our work ethic and compete were there and definitely some positives with our structure and how we played the games. You can see some of the things that we’ve been talking about and the little things and habits that we want for our guys to have, and you can tell there’s progress with that.”
The Warriors’ offense struck three times in the first period to take a 3-0 lead into the intermission. Owen Prohar got things rolling just under six minutes into the game with a wrist shot from the blue line that found twine.
At the 9:28 mark, Ryder Knutson would pick up his first of the season making it 2-0. Late in the period, Moose Jaw would get awarded a late powerplay. On that powerplay, with only 20 seconds left in the period, Grady Hoffman would connect on a one-timer that would find the top left corner and extend the lead to 3-0.
The shots after one period were 13-8 in favour of Moose Jaw.
The second period is when the game would open up on both sides and it became a back and forth affair.
The Stars Jack Forrester would get the visitors on the board on the powerplay, cutting the lead to 3-1.
Not even a minute later, Moose Jaw’s Liam Fitzpatrick would pick up his second of the year, on a one-timer that he made no mistake on.
58 seconds later, back comes Battleford, as Ethan Sautner would beat Warriors netminder Ryan Hicks to cut the deficit to 4-2.
After three goals in a 1:58 span, the play settled down until about two minutes left in the period. Ryder Knutson would restore Moose Jaw’s three-goal lead with a bullet from the point that made its way to the back of the net.
As they have done all game, the Stars didn’t give up. 38 seconds later Tyce Penrod would poke home his first of the season. The scoring wasn’t over yet, as Bryce Boughen with 25 seconds left would jump on a rebound for his first as a Warrior. Moose Jaw would take a 6-3 lead into the locker room.
The shots after 40 minutes were 28-19 for Moose Jaw. At the break, Weisgerber was able to settle his team down.
“The next shift after a goal is always a big shift, and you just want to reiterate that. You get that momentum and then you give up right away, it’s not ideal. A lot of it came down to communication.”
Tyce Penrod would put the Stars back within two 6:11 into the third period, after a sweet feed from his brother Trey would beat Hicks making it 6-4.
Moose Jaw would put the game away in the last ten minutes after Rhett Perrin would put home his second of the year, and then Brennan Brown added the team’s eighth goal to make the final 8-4.
Moose Jaw’s powerplay was an area where they capitalized going 2-4 on the day, and 3-6 on the weekend.
Ryder Knutson was named the first star of the game picking up two goals and an assist on the afternoon.
In his first AAA start, Ryan Hicks would stop 25 of 29 shots for his first win as a Warrior. Battleford’s Brady Carr would give up eight goals on 41 shots in the loss.
One guy that was held off the score sheet but created numerous chances in the offensive zone, was Connor Miller.
“I think I played decent, just trying to help the team get the two points and coming out of the weekend with the four points, and get momentum going into next weekend,” says Miller.
The Warriors will have the rest of the weekend off, then will have a full week of practice to prepare to host the Tisdale Trojans on Oct.1, at the Moose Jaw Events Centre with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.
Tickets can be bought at Sasktik.ca, or at the Moose Jaw Events Centre box office. Those not able to attend will be able to catch the game on IKSLive.ca