Tribe fail to hold onto third period lead in 4-2 loss to Brandon
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Spencer Morse of the Moose Jaw Warriors checks Jayce Hawryluk of the Brandon Wheat Kings in WHL action Saturday at Mosaic Place.
It was an exciting start and a disappointing end.
That sums up Saturday’s WHL game from a Moose Jaw Warrior perspective. It also sums up the Warriors’ first half of the season.
The Warriors gave up three goals in the final 5:08 of the third period to lose 4-2 to the Brandon Wheat Kings at Mosaic Place.
The Warriors head into the holiday break on a three-game losing streak. They sit with a 12-17-3-4 record at the midway point of the season. They are in ninth in the Eastern Conference and a point out of the playoffs.
“We got away from playing our game,” said Warriors captain Kendall McFaull. “We didn’t play the greatest in the first two periods, but we were fortunate enough to be up 2-1. We stressed trying to shut them down and playing a tight defensive game (in the third) and we turned too many pucks over. Plain and simple we didn’t play that well.
“By now we should have had enough learning lessons. This isn’t the first time this has happened to us. This late in the year that’s unacceptable.”
The Warriors took a 2-1 lead into the third period, but failed to hang onto it. Chad Robinson scored from a tight angle to tie the game before Taylor Cooper buried a rebound after a Warrior turnover.
Robinson scored into an empty net to ice the game for the Wheat Kings.
“It’s a rotten feeling and it’s a long time to chew on it,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers whose team has lost five of their last six games. “We have the Christmas break and perhaps it will do everyone some good to get away and enjoy some family and the reason for the season, come back fresh and ready to go back to work.”
Turnovers have cost the Warriors in recent games and though they cut down the number of turnovers Saturday, they were still just as costly.
“Some of the turnovers were beauts. I would say maybe there wasn’t as many, but the ones we had, they were 10-bellers,” said Stothers who said inexperience, fatigue and mental mistakes are part of the process of icing a young lineup.
“It’s part of the learning curve. They’re young kids. We’ll come back and be better for it,” Stothers added.
On Cooper’s game-winning goal, a turnover in the neutral zone gave Tim McGauley a lane to break into the Warriors zone and get his shot off before Cooper scored with half of the net begging.
“Any time you can’t get pucks deep and get teams coming in off the rush, they’re going create something,” said McFaull. “I feel bad for our goalies. They’re playing great. We can’t knock them at all. A lot of our young guys are playing pretty well too, but it starts with us older guys: we’re not pulling our weight and we’re not playing good enough.”
The Warriors got off to a great start as Josh Uhrich scored his first career WHL goal 36 seconds into the game on Teddy bear toss night at Mosaic Place.
The Wheat Kings tied the game on a Jens Meilleur wraparound goal late in the first period.
The Warriors regained the lead when Sam Fioretti batted home his 19th goal of the season in the second period.
Daniel Wapple finished with 28 saves in goal for the Warriors.
Curtis Honey stopped 23 shots for the Wheat Kings.