Early lapses cost Warriors

Matthew Gourlie
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Sam Fioretti from the Moose Jaw Warriors, left, checks Swift Current Broncos defenceman Dillon Heatherington hard into the boards Friday night.

The Moose Jaw Warriors didn’t make many mistakes Friday, but they still made one too many.

The Swift Current Broncos took advantage of some sloppy defensive zone coverage in the first period and make their two goals stand up as they beat the Warriors 2-1 in Western Hockey League action at Mosaic Place.

“We made two mistakes and they score two goals and that’s the difference in the game,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “They made some mistakes and we just didn’t capitalize enough. I thought we played well. We held them to 20 shots.

“The hesitation on positioning or assignments ended up biting us in the rear end.”

The Warriors will host the Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday (7 p.m., Mosaic Place) on Snowbird Night.

Adam Lowry scored twice in the first period and the Broncos power forward now has 43 goals on the season.

The Broncos win combined with Lethbridge’s 4-2 loss to Red Deer gives the Broncos their first playoff berth since 2010.

“It was our goal all year long to make the playoffs, but until we get an X beside our name, we just go about our business,” said Broncos head coach/GM Mark Lamb before the Rebels win put them in the playoffs. “What a huge win for us tonight. (Moose Jaw) is not easy. They play us hard, they play to win and they’re aggressive.”

Broncos goalie Eetu Laurikainen made a pair of great saves off of Tanner Eberle in close on a Warriors power play. On the same man-advantage he made a great glove save off of Justin Kirsch and he finished the second period by stoning Brayden Point in close.

Finally on a third period power play, Morgan Rielly stick-checked Laurikainen while the Finnish goalie was playing the puck behind his net. Carter Hansen was able to score from a tight angle into the abandoned net despite the best efforts of Broncos defenceman Dillon Heatherington to make a save.

Laurikainen finished with 25 saves.

“We’ve got pride. We’re playing for the jersey and we’re playing for the town. We’re not going to quit on the season. We’re going to play every minute until the end,” said Warriors winger Sam Fioretti.

Justin Paulic made his 22nd straight start and made 18 saves.

The Warriors got some bad news when 19-year-old left winger Jordan Wyton left the game following his first period fight with Ryon Moser. Wyton has missed 35 games over two spells in an injury-filled season.

The Warriors also lost Jordan Messier to a game misconduct in the first period after he instigated a fight with Dillon Heatherington. Heatherington knocked down Fioretti as he was going to the bench and because Messier came on to the ice to start his shift and immediately engaged with Heatherington, he was ejected. Messier could see further discipline from the WHL office.

Organizations: Western Hockey League, Edmonton Oil Kings

Geographic location: Red Deer, Moose Jaw

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