Moose Jaw Warriors
The three-star selections were a tough choice Saturday night.
On almost any other night, a handful of players could have earned first star with their performance in the Moose Jaw Warriors 9-0 win over the Prince Albert Raiders.
For a start, Sam Fioretti scored his second hat trick in two weeks and finished with a five-point night.
“We played a complete game. Nobody was floating,” said Fioretti.
“We’ve been on the other side of a shellacking this year and it was nice to be on the good side this time.”
Ironically they would feel that other side of the coin Sunday night in their 5-0 loss to Tri-City, but Saturday’s win was a textbook example of how the Warriors want to play.
“I think all aspects of our game were working and we got rewarded with a lot of goals,” added Fioretti. “We were putting pucks to the net and into the feet of goalies and we got rewarded. He played a great game in our D zone and got pucks out quickly.”
Fioretti had never scored a Western Hockey League hat trick heading into the season, but now the 19-year-old has two of them. He currently leads the WHL with 10 goals on the season.
Daniel Wapple, 17, recorded his first WHL shutout in only his third career start. He made 32 saves and made some big stops when the game was still in doubt. He turned away Raiders sniper Mark McNeill on a breakaway late in the second period for his best stop of the night.
Tanner Eberle made his season debut after off-season shoulder surgery. He finished the night with three assists.
“I want to keep playing a hard, gritty game this year, but I also want to get on the scoresheet,” said Eberle.
Morgan Rielly did Eberle two better by picking up five assists. The Toronto Maple Leafs’ fifth overall pick was at another level compared to almost everyone else on the ice, while Hockey Canada head scout Kevin Prendergast looked on.
Warriors right winger Justin Kirsch finally found his scoring touch after being unlucky in recent games. Kirsch ripped a couple of blasts into the Raiders net to give him three goals on the season.
Brayden Point had a goal and two assists, while Jordan Wyton and Carter Hansen also scored.
It was the Raiders (7-2-0-1) second straight loss after opening their season by taking 15 of a possible 16 points.
Former Warriors starting goalie Luke Siemens was pulled after the fourth goal. He stopped nine of the 13 shots he faced. Andy Desautels made 16 saves in relief.