Warriors hit the road with confidence

Matthew Gourlie
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Moose Jaw Warriors

The Moose Jaw Warriors have met a lot of challenges in the first half of the Western Hockey League season.

Now they’re ready for their biggest challenge of the season to date.

Immediately following the Warriors’ 4-3 shootout win over the Edmonton Oil Kings Wednesday, they jumped on the bus for a 20-hour bus ride through the night to Everett. Over 16 days the 10th ranked team in the CHL rankings will play eight road games.

“After Christmas everybody is rejuvenated to play,” said Warriors captain Kendall McFaull. “We haven’t a long road trip this season. We see that as a challenge for the team to prove ourselves on this road swing, but it should be  a lot of fun for the guys too.”

The Warriors are riding a four-game winning streak heading out on their U.S. Division road trip and are full of confidence after knocking off two division leaders in their previous two games.

Understandably, they are hoping that their level of play at home travels with them across the border.

“Our philosophy is the same going into the second half as it was in the first: we expect to win. We don’t hope to win, we expect to win,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers.

“We’re excited to go on the road and play some games.”

The road hasn’t been terribly kind to the Warriors (23-9-3-1) to date. The team leads the East Division and have an .804 record at home, but are playing .500 hockey on the road.

The Warriors are allowing fewer than three goals per game on average this season and Stothers feels that their success begins with their defensive play.

“We’ve seen what happens when we deviate from our game plan and our systems — usually it turns into one of those 7-6 nightmares that we don’t really enjoy,” said Stothers. “I don’t think it’s the right way to play and I don’t think it gives us the best chance to have success.”

Organizations: Western Hockey League, Edmonton Oil Kings, East Division

Geographic location: U.S.

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