Despite the score, the difference between the teams wasn’t huge in Game 3. Kevin Smith and Jason Bast both struck iron as did Calgary’s Michael Stone.
Calgary goaltender Martin Jones was fighting the puck as badly as he had in any game in the series, but he made some big saves when he needed to — stopping a deflection late in the second and a Spencer Edwards tip early in the third in a one-goal game.
Moose Jaw’s Jeff Bosch gave up some iffy goals, but also made some very good saves. As much as the goaltender takes some heat in losses, most of the Warriors weren’t as sharp as they had been earlier in the series and Bosch was no exception.
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Game 3 in that 2008 Moose Jaw-Calgary series was an 8-3 Calgary win in the Civic Centre.
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It was a great crowd in the Civic Centre Monday. The clock is ticking on games in the old barn and the atmosphere in the Crushed Can come playoff time is something special. Feeling the energy before Game 3 reminded me how much I’m going to miss the old place.
Calgary’s Ian Schultz on the Civic Centre: “Moose Jaw’s got some of the loudest, some of the craziest fans I’ve ever seen. They make it loud, they make it hard to even hear yourself think. That first goal was huge and gave us momentum for the start of the game.”
The Warriors are a young a team and dealing with the atmosphere in the Civic Centre is part of the maturation process. The players feed off the noise, but they also need to not get too caught up in the moment and try to do too much and keep their discipline.
Even with 10,000 people in the Pengrowth Saddledome it’s still looks and feels half-empty. The crowd was into it in both games, but it’s just a completely different atmosphere from having the fans on top of you like they are in the Civic Centre.
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Speaking of discipline, both teams have been harping about it, but the message isn’t getting through. In the dying seconds of the second period Brendan Rowinski gave Calgary’s Giffen Nyren a shot behind the net. It should have drawn a call. It didn’t. Given the time and the situation Nyren, as a 20-year-old, has to turn the other cheek. Instead he decides to start a fight with Rowinski and sends the Warriors to the power play. That led to the 4-3 goal and was very nearly the defining moment of the series.
The Warriors fans seemed displeased with the officiating — especially in the third period. Let me say (and I’m dead serious) that Game 3 was the best officiated game of the series to date. There were some calls that could have gone either way, but that’s hockey. It was nothing compared to Game 1 in any event.
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The Warriors turned over far too many pucks. Three egregious defensive turnovers led directly to goals. Quite simply, those kind of mistakes didn’t happen in Calgary.
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You have to give Clinton Atkinson points for bravery if not execution in deciding to fight Calgary’s Cody Beach Monday.
Watching Atkinson play forward may be a little foreshadowing of the future. Next season is a long way away, however the Warriors have seven returning defencemen (including Chad Suer who will be part of a glut of 20-year-olds). Add in Morgan Rielly and they’re back at eight. The Warriors also have four more 1992- and 1993-born defencemen who have signed WHL education contracts (Joel Edmundson, Matthew Franczyk, Shayne Gwinner and Travis Brown). That is a lot of defencemen.
The Warriors will lose overagers Jason Bast and Cody Smuk and will have to make some hard decisions with 20-year-olds Spencer Edwards, Thomas Frazee, Dylan Hood and Brendan Rowinski. Considering that goalie Jeff Bosch will also be 20, it’s possible the Warriors could lose five forwards. Given the need for forwards and a glut of defencemen, Atkinson may be asked to try his hand up front again.
Atkinson — who is a 1991 — played forward as a AAA midget with the Vancouver Giants and has seen a little time up front with the Warriors.
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Speaking of defencemen playing forward, Dylan McIlrath — another former forward — took a late shift up front with what appeared to be the purpose of hitting as many Hitmen on the forecheck as humanly possible. With the game no longer in doubt, McIlrath made a nuisance of himself, but also hit a Hitman who didn’t have the puck and earned himself an interference minor.
Speaking of hitting, the Warriors laid more hits in their first shift than they did in some entire games this year. It was a phenomenal start and then one icing call led to a defensive zone face-off loss which led to a strange opening goal. In playoff hockey little things can make a huge difference. The Warriors were off to the start they wanted and that changed in a few seconds.
The first goal has been huge — there have been no lead changes in the series — and it should be once again Tuesday.
Another big feather in Calgary’s cap has been their response to Warrior goals. The Hitmen have scored on the subsequent shift, within a minute of a Moose Jaw goal in each game.