As the season continues and as the games mount between the Moose Jaw Warriors and the Saskatoon Blades, so does the heated rivalry.
A penalty-filled and physical game on Wednesday evening at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon was no different than the previous five meetings this season — the Warriors battled hard, but came up short. The Blades extended their win streak to a franchise record 13 games with a 5-1 victory.
“It was a good competitive game and hard fought. It was a good battle and I don’t think the score wasn’t a true indication of the how the game was played at all,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers.
Tanner Eberle got the Warriors on the board in the first period. Rookie Brayden Point muscled his way off the end boards and inside the circle, where he was able to connect with Eberle.
The lead didn’t last long as Erik Benoit scored just 34 seconds to tie the game.
The second frame was penalty-filled that saw the two teams take 14 minutes in offences, but neither team could score on the man advantage.
The Warriors continued to attack the net, but Blades goaltender Andrey Makarov stood tall, stopping 35 of 36 shots he faced. The Blades were able to capitalize on some bad bounces in the third period, scoring four goals.
“We needed to have our power play come through like it did in P.A last Saturday night…we ended up winning that game because we got three power play goals,” stated Stothers. “Tonight (Wednesday) we had some opportunities, but we just couldn’t find a way to make it gel.”
Matej Stransky scored his 33rd of the season and just 33 seconds later, Josh Nicholls scored. Blades’ captain Brendan Walker scored an empty net goal and then added a power play marker with less than a minute to go.
The Warriors fall to 20-31-3-6 and have 12 games left in the regular season. They currently sit in 10th place and are 11 points between Kootenay for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Although the team has games against six teams that are higher in the standings than them, the role of spoiler isn’t on their minds.
“We are still in the playoffs mathematically and that is the way we are going to approach it,” said Stothers. “We aren’t looking at being spoilers; we are just looking at playing good hockey and winning some hockey games. We are trying to find any way to get into the playoffs.”
The Warriors finished 0-for-6 on the power play and went 4-for-5 on the penalty kill and outshot the Blades 36-32. Late in the game, Stothers was ejected from the game after arguing with the officials.
The Warriors will have Thursday off before the Regina Pats, who sit just two points behind them in the standings, will visit Mosaic Place on Friday evening. The Blades and Warriors will be able to renew pleasantries on Saturday (7 p.m., Mosaic Place).