Fioretti provides a dramatic winner

Matthew Gourlie
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Overtime goal with less than a second left snaps skid

Sam Fioretti of the Moose Jaw Warriors celebrates his overtime winner Friday night.

It was a dream finish in what had been a nightmare January for the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Sam Fioretti scored with one-tenth of a second left in overtime to give the Warriors a 3-2 win over the Kootenay Ice Friday at Mosaic Place.

The win snapped the Warriors’ 10-game losing streak.

“It was a good emotional win,” said Fioretti. “I wasn’t sure how much time was on the clock ... I heard every fan in the building yell ‘shoot’. So I decided it would probably be a good idea and luckily it went in.”

Truth be told the Warriors performance against the Ice was pretty similar to their effort in a 3-2 shootout loss to Kootenay last Friday. The feeling after the game, however, was night and day different around the Warriors locker room.

“It’s been tough for them. I truly believe that in some of those games we played well enough to win and I think we deserved to win,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “It was nice to see them battle the way they did and get rewarded. That’s huge for us.

“I’m happy for the kids. I’m happy for how hard they played. They’ve stuck together through this. They’ve taken the losses hard. They certainly don’t shrug it off. It eats away at them too.”

The Warriors record improves to 15-25-3-6 as they head into Swift Current Saturday. They will conclude the weekend with a road trip to Saskatoon.

As much as there was relief in the Warriors ranks, they emphasized the need to refocus and build off of the win.

“This is huge. We’ve been waiting for this for awhile and it’s nice that it came in such dramatic fashion,” said Warriors goalie Justin Paulic who made 32 saves in the win. “It’s great to finally get one, but at the same time we have two more games to get ready for as soon as possible. If you dwell on it a little too much it might bite us in the next two games. We’ll enjoy it for right now, but we have to get ready for Saturday and Sunday.”

The Warriors earned a power play in overtime with 39.6 seconds left.

Paulic started the play that led to the winning goal when he made a pass to centre ice to Fioretti who made a give-and-go with Morgan Rielly at the blue line before beating Mackenzie Skapski with a wrist shot.

Fioretti tied the game in the third period when he went hard to the net to bang in a nice feed from Tanner Eberle.

After a scoreless first Carter Hansen opened the scoring for the Warriors.

The Ice responded as Collin Shirley scored a power play goal and Sam Reinhart scored on a wrap around in the last five minutes of the second period to give the Ice a 2-1 lead.

The Ice had won 12 of their previous 13 games — including five straight — but assistant captain Brock Montgomery didn’t think they had been as sharp as they need to be of late.

“We haven’t been playing our best in the last five games,” said Montgomery, who played his last regular season game in Moose Jaw. “It might be a good thing. It might be a wake-up call that we can lose when we have a bad start. We’ve had a bad start in our last five games.

“We didn’t come to play. I don’t think we took them seriously enough. You could see right from the start that they were all over us and we didn’t really get going at any point in the game.”

Montgomery enjoyed a special moment during the first period intermission when the Ice allowed him to take part in the Timbits hockey game with his five-year-old twin brothers Rylan and Blake while his father Rod Montgomery was also on the ice.

Geographic location: Kootenay, Swift Current, Saskatoon.As Moose Jaw

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