Brett Kit connects with a body-check on Moose Jaw Warriors' defenceman Ryan Gardiner during Friday night's pre-season game at Westman Place. (Bruce Bumstead/Brandon Sun)
Three-point night for Torrin White
After building a 4-1 lead through two periods of play, the Moose Jaw Warriors held on for a 4-3 exhibition road win against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night.
The Warriors were outshot 15-5 in the final 20 minutes as the Wheat Kings cranked up the volume of their game.
Brandon seemed to get their spark when defenceman Kord Pankewicz dropped the gloves with Warriors winger Darcy DeRoose 3:55 into the third period.
Less than two minutes after that tilt, the Wheat Kings had cut their deficit from three goals to one goal courtesy a breakaway goal from Ryley Lindgren at 5:08 and a goal from Taylor Sanheim at 5:47.
“They were a desperate team,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “We knew they wanted to come back in the game and they scored a couple and made it interesting.”
Two more third period fights — winger Josh Uhrich and Brandon’s Brett Kitt at the 9:21 mark and Moose Jaw’s Royce Rossignol and Jesse Gabrielle at the 17:19 mark — followed as the Wheat Kings made a furious push to try and even the game in the late stages of the third period.
Stothers said after the game that one should not read too much into the trio of third period scraps.
“It’s just part of the game,” he noted. “Two teams are playing and whether they happen in the first, second or third (period) doesn’t really matter.”
Overall, however, the Warriors bench boss was proud of the way his team played Friday night.
“I thought they played hard. It’s a difficult building to play in.
“It’s their first real test of an exhibition game, so I thought all of our players handled themselves very, very well,” said Stothers.
Milo, Alta. product Bryson Gore opened the scoring when he potted the puck past Wheat Kings goaltender Jordan Papirny 7:23 into the opening period.
Kirk Johnson, who only had one goal in 47 games a season ago for the Warriors, scored a four-on-three power-play marker 4:10 into the second period. Just over three minutes later Torrin White netted another power-play marker to upthe lead to 3-0.
Brandon’s penalty-kill ranked dead last in the Western Hockey League a season ago and despite new players on both sides of the puck, the Warriors seemed to exploit that weakness by going two-for-six with the man advantage.
“We tried to utilize everybody and give everybody a chance on it,” said Stothers.
The teams exchanged goals later in the second period, with White picking up his third point of the night on Uhrich’s second goal in as many exhibition games.
White finished the game with a goal, two assists and six penalty minutes to go along with his plus-two rating.
The two teams will meet again Sunday at 2 p.m., except this time the game will be at Mosaic Place. It will be Moose Jaw’s first home game of the exhibition schedule.
“It will be a different lineup for us and it will be a different lineup for them,” noted Stothers. “We’re going to come back and play at home and establish ourselves as a team that’s very difficult to play at home.”
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks