If offence is more instinctual, the defensive side of hockey is learned more than it is intuited.
That defensive learning process continued Friday for the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Warriors gave up four third period goals in a 5-2 loss to the Prince Albert Raiders at the Art Hauser Centre.
“It was a pretty good game and then a couple of things came back to bite us in the backside,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers who felt the defensive breakdowns were a combination of mistakes and also getting away from what they want to do defensively.
“It’s a learning process. We have to weather some inconsistencies and get to the point where they’re doing things properly, regularly, and then win some games.”
The Warriors (1-2) will host Brandon (7 p.m., Mosaic Place) Saturday.
The Warriors have a deep, veteran defensive group, but have given up 12 goals in their last two games. Stothers said the Warriors need to be better defensively as a team to cut down their goals against.
“It’s a matter of working on things continually in practice and via video and making sure everyone is aware of their assignments and following through on them,” said Stothers.
Friday’s game was tied 2-2 when Dakota Conroy and former Warrior Shayne Gwinner scored 1:35 apart to give the Raiders a two-goal lead. Reid Gardiner scored his first WHL goal later in the third period to give the Raiders some insurance that they wouldn’t need.
Former Warriors starting goalie Luke Siemens made 25 saves to earn the win.
Anthony Bardaro opened the scoring for the Raiders to give them a 1-0 lead.
Warriors defenceman Travis Brown tied the game with a power play goal in the second period to send the take the teams into the second intermission tied 1-1.
The goals came fast and furious in the third. Chance Braid scored to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead, but Sam Fioretti replied for the Warriors to level the score.
Fioretti’s goal was the Warriors first five-on-five goal this season.
It only took the Raiders 1:25 to regain the lead for good thanks to Conroy.
Daniel Wapple made 28 saves in his first career WHL start for the Warriors.