Tribe add 20-year-old defenceman Hodder from Tigers
The Moose Jaw Warriors are still a work in progress.
A week before the Western Hockey League regular season opens, the Warriors still have some questions marks, but the team is hoping they also found some answers in their 3-1 loss to the Swift Current Broncos in WHL pre-season play Friday.
“We want to win every game and anything less is unacceptable. But I’m not going to gauge our whole season based on how our exhibition record was,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “We’re still auditioning some young players — not only where they are now, but where we project they will be a month from now. It’s important that these guys play and get some ice time so we can make an accurate decision going forward.”
The Warriors will conclude their pre-season schedule Saturday night (7 p.m., Mosaic Place) against the Broncos.
The Warriors came out flat and trailed Brandon 4-0 last Sunday. Friday, Brayden Point opened the scoring for the Warriors as they had the better of the first period.
“It was a much better start than what we had at home the other night at home. I thought we played well. I thought was played hard. I thought we competed,” said Stothers. “I think our power play had opportunities to keep us in the game and get us a lead and possibly win the game.”
The Warriors finished 0-for-7 on the power play, though their final two power plays came with 18 and nine seconds left in the game respectively. They did get the first two power plays of the game in the first period, but instead of expanding on their lead, they gave up a short-handed goal to Colby Cave.
“We were a little guilty of trying to be too cute, a little too fancy. That’s going to happen when you have some skilled people who are quite capable of making great plays. They certainly don’t have to try to make great plays every time. Let’s get some pucks to the net. Let’s get some traffic. Let’s get some rebounds,” said Stothers.
“It’s a process and we had some good looks at times and we had times where we frustrated ourselves by over-handling it.”
The Warriors deployed four forwards at times on the power play with Todd Fiddler playing the point beside Alexei Sleptsov.
“Fidds has a heavy shot,” said Stothers. “In exhibition you want to try to get some guys some looks and see what group we can open the regular season with.”
Jay Merkley and Connor Sanvido scored second period goals for the Broncos.
Former Warrior Andrew Johnson added a pair of assists for the Broncos.
The Warriors were out-shot 13-4 in the third period.
Justin Paulic made 25 saves in goal for the Warriors, while Landon Bow did the same for the Broncos.
Late Friday afternoon, the Warriors filled their third 20-year-old spot when they acquired defenceman Zach Hodder from Medicine Hat. The Warriors gave up a conditional eighth round bantam pick in the 2014 draft.
Stothers said Hodder will be in the line-up tonight.
Hodder is 5-foot-11 and 176 pounds and has played 125 games in four seasons in the WHL with four different teams. Hodder has nine goals, 29 assists and 55 penalty minutes over those 125 regular season games. The Delta, B.C. product was originally a first round pick of the Vancouver Giants in the 2008 bantam draft and played at the World Under-17 Challenge.
With Morgan Rielly expected to be getting a long look from the Toronto Maple Leafs — if not spending the season in the NHL — Hodder adds a little more experience to the Warriors blue line.
Hodder and Rielly were teammates on the 2009 Notre Dame Hounds team that won the Telus Cup midget AAA national championship.