On a night when no one looked likely to score, Joel Edmundson ended up holding the hot stick for the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The Medicine Hat Tigers killed off a pair of five-minute Moose Jaw power plays before Edmundson scored twice to lead the Warriors to a 2-1 win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Tyler Bunz made 41 saves in the Medicine Hat goal, but couldn’t hold the Tigers in the game forever.
“You keep putting enough pucks to the net sooner or later they’re going to find a way to go in. (Tyler) Bunz is good. We knew that. That wasn’t a surprise. I think the surprise was that the fact that Joel scored two goals,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers with a laugh as he looked at Edmundson.
“My opinion of this series hasn’t changed one iota. I think it’s going to be a long, drawn out series. I do think the hockey will get better as we go.”
The Tigers got off to a disastrous start when star Emerson Etem caught Warriors rookie Torrin White with a knee-on-knee open ice hit on Etem’s second shift of the game. Etem picked up a kneeing major and game misconduct. White returned briefly but is doubtful for Game 2.
The Warriors got their second five-minute power play when Tigers centre Dylan Bredo was tagged for an elbowing major 40 seconds into the second period.
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The Tigers killed off all 12 minutes of the first three power plays of the game and had the score deadlocked despite missing two-thirds of their top line.
“I was unfortunate because it was two of our best players,” said Tigers head coach Shaun Clouston. “I thought the guys did a great job of responding. Our penalty kill was outstanding. Obviously Tyler Bunz was terrific tonight, but we really battled hard in front of our net and we blocked a ton of shots.
“We competed extremely hard, but we didn’t spend near enough time in the offensive zone.”
Edmundson finally broke the deadlock 8:11 into the second period. Cam Braes redirected a Fioretti shot and forced Bunz into a tough save. The danger seemed to pass, but Edmundson took a swinging hack at the loose puck from an acute angle and beat Bunz to the short side.
Later, Edmundson picked the top corner to put the Warriors ahead 2-0 on their 40th shot of the night.
The Tigers scored on the power play with the net empty when Curtis Valk poked the puck in from the crease with 54 seconds left.
Luke Siemens finished with 16 saves and was able to hold the Tigers off in the final seconds.