The Moose Jaw Warriors scored three goals in the third period and completed the came back to defeat the Victoria Royals 4-3 in a shootout. The Warriors (9-11-4-3) improved to .500 on this road trip and earned their first shootout win this season.
“I hope we weren’t getting that ‘here we go again feeling’,” said assistant coach Mark O’Leary. “We kept working at it and our big guns did their part.”
It was a highly contested and physical first period that saw Joel Edmundson get a roughing and a 10-minute misconduct at the end of the frame.
Brandon Magee got the Royals on the board at the 7:00 minute mark of the opening period in 4-on-4 action.
The second period was somewhat dull and lacked energy as the Warriors only had five shots on net and the Royals managed nine, but Alex Gogolev scored his 11th of the season on the power play late in the frame.
“It was definitely frustrating as a group to watch what we were doing after so many good things in Red Deer to come back and put up that kind of effort in the first 40 wasn’t acceptable,” stated O’Leary.
The Warriors created room for themselves and controlled much of the play in the third period. Justin Kirsch tried to get the team on the board while short-handed, but hit a post.
It wasn’t until Travis Brown scored his fourth for the season from a nice setup from Miles Warkentine and Brett Brooks to get the Warriors within one goal. The fourth line of Warkentine, Brooks and Brandon Potomak impressed the coaching staff throughout the game.
“They had the most energy for most of the night. They don’t get as many opportunities as some other lines, but they were pretty good,” stated O’Leary. “It is just pure work ethnic and they were winning their battles. Whenever they can contribute, it is great for the team.”
The Royals would retake the two-goal lead as Tim Traber scored on a breakaway.
The Warriors weren’t done as Kirsch beat Royals goaltender, Patrik Polivka blocker side on the man advantage from Morgan Rielly and Brayden Point.
Rielly would create a turnover at centre ice and Point blasted a shot that hit the crossbar and behind Polivka to tie the game late with the extra attacker as goaltender Daniel Wapple was on the bench.
“We came out with nothing to lose in the third period,” said O’Leary. “We kept going and maybe the hockey Gods were on our side to pull off a win.”
Jordan Messier scored his third of the season in the fourth round of the shootout to give the Warriors the much-needed victory.
“It was nice to see Mess get the winner,” he said.