Warriors ready for long battle despite Pats drawing first blood

Matthew Gourlie
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Regina goalie Matt Hewitt lunges to keep out Brayden Point's wrap-around attempt.

The Moose Jaw Warriors weren’t happy after their opening game loss.

They weren’t exactly stunned though either.

Despite being the favourites, the Tribe told anyone who would listen that they expected the Regina Pats to give them a hard fight in their opening round series.

The Pats may have drawn first blood, but the Warriors are still poised for a drawn-out battle.

“We’re a little disappointed, but you can’t get too down,” said Warriors captain Kendall McFaull. “We knew it was going to be a long series and we knew we weren’t going to win them all. That’s the first one, but we got the jitters out and we should be good to go.”

Top of the list for tonight’s Game 2 is a more potent power play and doing a better job of burying chances in general.

The Warriors were 30-3-2-1 at home this season and hadn’t lost at home in 2012. Yet after one game, their hard-earned home-ice advantage is gone.

“It’s bound to happen,” said McFaull about losing at home. “It’s better to get it out of the way early in the first game, rather than later in the series,” said McFaull. “All you can do is learn from your mistakes.”

Despite winning the opener, the Pats are also looking to learn from their mistakes in Game 1.

Before the series started RRegina head coach Pat Conacher said his team couldn’t be out-shot two-to-one, as it had been in the final two regular season meeting against the Warriors. They managed escape with a win despite being out-shot 33-15, but Conacher knows that many shots and the six power plays they allowed are a recipe for disaster.

“There’s no two ways about it — we have to be better with our puck management,” said Conacher.

“There are things we have to correct to go forward, but we can’t afford to give up that many shots or take that many penalties and keep putting (goalie Matt Hewitt) and our D under that kind of pressure.”

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