Rielly and Kirsch score twice in 4-1 win
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Carter Hansen of the Moose Jaw Warriors fights off the check of Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Davis Vandane to get a short-handed scoring chance Tuesday.
Tuesday night the Moose Jaw Warriors didn’t focus on the standings or the opponent. Instead they just played hockey.
In fact, they played hockey very well.
The Warriors put together one of their best performances in the last couple of months as they skated away to a 4-1 win over the Prince Albert Raiders at Mosaic Place.
“We came out hard and we just played hockey. We didn’t worry too much about where P.A. is in the standings or in the playoff picture, we just played our game and tried to keep it simple,” said Warriors defenceman Morgan Rielly who scored a pair of goals.
The Warriors had lost three straight road games heading into Tuesday including a pair of big losses to Medicine Hat and Kootenay — the two teams ahead of them in the standings.
While the Warriors are still focused on trying to climb the standings and make a playoff push, they’re trying not to dwell too much on the big picture.
“Our goal as a team is to make the playoffs. We have quite a few games to play still,” said Rielly. “I think we went into (Medicine Hat and Kootenay) too focused on having to come home with two wins. We have to look approach each game at a time instead of worrying about having to win X games over a two week span.”
Warriors head coach Mike Stothers felt that it was a great team performance and that getting a good effort from every player that played was the difference.
“All 20 guys contributed for 60 minutes. It was a pleasure to coach, it was a pleasure to watch. It was how the game should be played,” said Stothers. Rielly opened the scoring on a great back door feed from Brayden Point in the first period. The Raiders replied right away when Dylan Busenius found former Moose Jaw General Austin Daae behind the Warriors defence. Daae scored his third goal of the season on the breakaway to tie the score.
Kendall McFaull knocked Leon Draisaitl off the puck and Justin Kirsch grabbed the loose puck and out-raced the Raiders defence the length of the ice before beating Raiders goalie Luke Siemens.
Justin Paulic preserved the Warriors’ one-goal lead later in the second period when he robbed Anthony Bardaro at the side of the net on the power play. A point shot deflected straight to Bardaro, but Paulic was abel to stretch and glove Bardaro’s shot.
Rielly put the Warriors ahead 3-1 when he beat Siemens to the short side on the power play with 1:16 left in the second period. Kirsch scored his 20th of the season into an empty net to ice the game.
Paulic finished with 29 saves for the Warriors. Siemens stopped 30 shots for the Raiders.
Brandon Del Grosso made his WHL debut for the Warriors.