It may not have been the Sermon on the Mount, but the Moose Jaw Warriors have taken head coach Mike Stothers’ decree about turning the other cheek to heart.
So far in the Western Hockey League playoffs the Warriors have cut their penalty minutes in half compared to the regular season. In fact, they are the least penalized team so far this post-season.
“I’ve been very happy with (our discipline),” said Stothers after the Warriors had a single penalty to kill in Game 2 against the Medicine Hat Tigers Saturday. “We’ve been trying to establish ourselves as a team that plays hard between the whistles and when there’s a stoppage we don’t want to be involved in any extracurricular activities. It’s kind of senseless. Make your statement during the course of the play and then move on.”
Heading into Tuesday’s Game 3, they’ve taken an average of 8.7 minutes in penalties per game in the playoffs. That’s down from 17.5 minutes per game during the regular season where they were the seventh most penalized team in the league.
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“We’ve been taking a few penalties, but they aren’t undisciplined penalties,” said Warriors captain Kendall McFaull. “That’s something we’re definitely aware of and we want to keep it going.”
The Warriors were second in the league with 85 fighting majors during the regular season and they lost 23 man-games to suspensions. So far in the post-season the Warriors have only been in one fight.
Despite their reputation, discipline had been a point of emphasis from Stothers all season. Their discipline had been solid for most of the season, but when they have strayed, they strayed far.
“We’ve had some moments this year when we’ve been very good discipline-wise. We’ve had our moments where we’ve looked like a bunch of teenagers who get a little carried away with emotions,” said Stothers. “So far so good. They’ve kept their emotions in check.”