It may be the post-season, but Friday’s playoff opener sure looked like a lot of the Moose Jaw Warriors-Regina Pats games in the regular season.
The Warriors dominated territorially in Game 1, but the Pats were more opportunistic as they won 3-2.
“It was a game of opportunities — some were missed and some were capitalized on,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “We’ve got to be a little more determined to be ready for second, and possibly third, opportunities. When you have a chance to score you have to be sure you’re following through and leaning into it and making sure it’s going into the back of the net and not just putting it to the net.”
For the third straight game the Warriors dominated territorially and on the shot clock, but weren’t able make it count on the scoreboard.
“It’s frustrating. You want to win when you play that hard,” said Quinton Howden who had a goal and an assist for the Warriors. “You’ve got to give credit to (Pats’ goalie Matt) Hewitt. He’s standing on his head. I think if we keep going we should be on the right track.”
Dyson Stevenson scored twice on the power play — including the game-winner 6:52 into the period — to give the Pats the win.
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The Pats take a 1-0 series lead in their best-of-seven Western Hockey League Eastern Conference quarter-final series. Game 2 is Saturday (7 p.m., Mosaic Place).
With the win, the seventh-seed Pats snapped the Warriors’ 16-game home winning streak.
“That’s a huge win. I don’t know if they thought we were going to win a game in this series,” said Stevenson who played two seasons of midget AAA hockey in Moose Jaw. “Greasy goals win playoff games and I was lucky to get a bounce on to my stick both times and I was lucky they went in. It’s key to get the greasy goals.
“I’ve got (Warriors defenceman Dylan) McIlrath sitting there cross-checking me in the back, but I’ll take that. If I can get a goal or a point out of that I’m happy.”
The Pats power play finished 2-for-4. The Warriors were 1-for-6 and gave up a short-handed goal to Tanner Olstad.
“Special teams are a big part of the playoffs and theirs ended up being better than ours was tonight,” said Howden.
Sam Fioretti scored the Warriors’ other goal.
Hewitt finished with 31 saves in his playoff debut.
Siemens stopped a dozen shots in the loss.