It took five periods, but the Moose Jaw Warriors finally managed an offensive breakthrough against the Medicine Hat Tigers.
The Warriors scored six unanswered goals to beat the Tigers 6-1 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Warriors take a 2-0 series lead as the best-of-seven affair shifts to Medicine Hat Tuesday.
Hunter Shinkaruk scored a short-handed goal in the first period to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead, but Quinton Howden scored twice in 45 seconds in the middle of the second period to give the Warriors a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“We expect all of our players to step up. That’s what we’ve done all year long. Every night it’s somebody different. (Friday) it was Joel Edmundson. Tonight it was (Howden),” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers.
“That’s been the key to our team all season long. We try not to rely on any on individual or any line per se.”
Medicine Hat goalie Tyler Bunz had stopped 67 of the first 71 shots he faced in the series, but the Warriors finally got to him in the third period as they scored four times.
Bunz failed to hang onto a point shot from Kendall McFaull and Eric Arnold was there to bang the puck home 13 seconds into the third period. Kenton Miller, Cody Beach and Justin Kirsch also scored in the third period for the Warriors.
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“We’ve got a team with depth and different guys contribute in different ways and that helps us be successful,” said Howden who felt their ability t get to the net helped them find a way to bury their chances.
“We were getting too many shots from the outside and we weren’t going to the hard areas to get the goals. We knew going into the second period that was what we were going to have to do to get some past Bunz.”
Bunz was under fire for the second game in a row as the Tigers were out-shot 40-15. The Warriors out-shot the Tigers 43-17 in their 2-1 Game 1 victory.
“We scored the first goal, but I thought as the game went on Moose Jaw did a real good job on their forecheck. We just spent too much time defending and eventually that broke it open,” said Tigers head coach Shaun Clouston.
The Tigers were without leading scorer Emerson Etem who sat out the first game of an undetermined suspension after he was given a kneeing major in Game 1. The victim of that hit, Warriors right winger Torrin White, didn’t play in Game 2.