Mike Stothers is trying to keep his team’s winless opening weekend in perspective.
He hopes his players do the same.
The Moose Jaw Warriors are 0-2 as they head into a weekend set that will see them travel to face the Swift Current Broncos Friday before they host the Saskatoon Blades Saturday (7 p.m., Mosaic Place).
The Warriors dropped a pair of games against a banged-up Brandon Wheat Kings team and don’t want to lose any more games to divisional rivals this early in the season. At the same time their head coach knows that it’s far too early to dwell too much on the standings.
“It’s hard because you don’t want to put too much pressure on them because they’re already putting pressure on themselves. It’s our job to deflect that. We have to reassure them that they’re doing a lot of things well,” said Stothers, the Warriors head coach. “You can look at it two ways: you can put more pressure on yourselves and put everyone on edge or you can just go out and play. In the first two games we did more things well than we did poorly. If that stays the same we have a good chance of winning.”
In the last 15 years the Warriors have lost their first four games of the season twice. In 2004-05 they would go on to lose their first 19 games and post a 14-47-11-0 record — the second-worst record in team history. Conversely, they started 2007-08 with a 0-3-2-0 record and rebounded to finish 37-21-6-8 — which is the fourth-best regular season in team history.
Every season is different, but for a team that didn’t enjoy a lot of success a year ago, they want to hit the win column as soon as possible.
“It’s important to get points at this time of the season or else it can come back to haunt you. We learned that last year,” said Warriors centre Brayden Point. “We take every game seriously and this weekend is important.”
The Warriors took 80 shots over the two games on the weekend, but only scored four goals in 6-3 and 3-1 losses.
“You become concerned if you’re not getting chances, but I feel we’re getting chances,” said Stothers. “You take a guy like (Colton) McCarthy and he wants to contribute with some goals and he’s hit two posts and had some chances, so you just want to reassure him that if he’s getting chances he’s doing the right thing and they’ll find a way to go in.”
Stothers added that he’s confident that Todd Fiddler and Sam Fioretti will find the back of the net sooner rather than later.
“We’re getting a lot of shots, but we’re not getting bounces right now,” said Point who has scored twice this year.
The Warriors have tried to work on their offence a little during the week, but focused on preparing for their weekend opponents.
The Broncos have scored 10 goals this season and half of them have come on the power play. The Broncos have scored on half of their power play chances this season.
“Their power play is scoring 50 per cent of the time, so we can’t make poor decisions or be lazy,” said Stothers. “We spent a lot of time on trying to create some offence for ourselves and tried to make some guys feel good with some pucks going into the net.”
The Warriors will hand Justin Paulic his 29th straight start in goal Friday, a streak that dates back to last season.