The Moose Jaw Warriors are having some difficulties closing out close games. Their losing streak is now at six straight games, but they have earned a point in the last four of those games. Five of those last six games have also been lost by one goal.
“They are hard to swallow for everybody. Looking back on the last two games, this one is the same as the last one against these guys — we played them real tough,” said Warriors assistant coach Mark O’Leary.
In an extended home-and-home series with the Calgary Hitmen, the Warriors were dropped 2-1 in a shootout on Wednesday evening in Calgary. Much like the game on Sunday evening when these two faced-off at Mosaic Place, the Warriors battled throughout the game, but just couldn’t put more than one puck behind Hitmen’s goaltender Chris Driedger.
“When you give up 20 shots in 65 minutes of hockey, you give yourself a chance to win. We played well, but you certainly hope to pull out two points whenever you can,” he stated.
The two teams were deadlocked after the first period, but the Warriors controlled most of the play, out-shooing the Hitmen 6-2. Carter Hansen scored his fourth of the season early in the second period, but the lead was short-lived as Brendan Hurley scored less than a minute later. The third period and overtime solved nothing and the Warriors went to a shootout for the third time this season. Justin Kirsch scored in the opening round, but neither Morgan Rielly nor Sam Fioretti could score to extend the rounds. Greg Chase scored the shootout winner for the Hitmen.
“It is night and day when there is nothing on the line. When you have someone like Sammy (Fioretti) and you have to score to make the shootout continue, there is a lot of pressure there and it definitely changes,” explained O’Leary.
The Warriors went 0-for-5 on the man advantage on Wednesday evening and have been 0-for-11 in the last three games. With a team that is having difficulties scoring at full strength, the power play is something the Warriors are hoping turns around quickly.
“It comes to execution. I think everybody is on the same page and we know what we want to do,” stated O’Leary. “We certainly do it in practice enough that we know what we are trying to accomplish when we are out there.”
Even though it was a physical game, the Warriors managed to stay disciplined and only gave up two power plays to the Hitmen.
“You don’t want to put a team like Calgary on the power play too many times,” he said. “When we did, we did a pretty good job.”
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