The Moose Jaw Warriors’ penalty kill has been a bright spot so far this season.
Even if it has been looking good, the Warriors didn’t want to see their penalty killers on the ice nearly as much as they were Tuesday night.
The Medicine Hat Tigers scored two quick goals early in the second period and skated to a 4-2 win as the Warriors were forced to try to kill off seven Tigers power plays.
The loss drops the Warriors record to 2-3 on the Western Hockey League season.
“We spent too much time in the penalty box,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. His team killed six of the seven power plays they faced and at 86.4 per cent have one of the most effective penalty kills in the WHL.
“We were really good on the penalty kill. I was really enthused by that part of our game,” said Stothers.
The Warriors had a solid first period, but Steven Owre and Cole Sanford scored 69 seconds apart early in the second period to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
“I thought we played a good road game for the most part, but we needed to carry over what we started in the first into the second. And we needed to remain on the ice and play five-on-five to see how it would have turned out,” said Stothers who described his team’s second period as “a little helter skelter.”
Sam Fioretti scored his second goal of the season on the power play midway through the second period to cut the Tigers’ lead to 2-1.
Kirk Johnson got a double-minor for roughing and at the end of the power play Tommy Vannelli scored his first WHL goal.
Vannelli, an 18-year-old defenceman, was the St. Louis Blues’ second round pick in the 2013 NHL draft. He left the University of Minnesota before ever playing a game for them this fall.
Kyle Becker scored in the third period to put the Tigers ahead 4-2 before Tanner Eberle scored his first goal of the year for the Warriors with 30 seconds left.
Travis Brown and Brayden Point both picked up assists and have a point in each of the Warriors five games this season.
Warriors goalie Justin Paulic made his 31st consecutive start and made 34 saves. Veteran Tigers goalie Marek Langhamer made 34 saves.
The Warriors were without 19-year-old defenceman Tyler Bell who served a one-game suspension after he picked up a boarding major Saturday for a hit on Saskatoon’s Austin Calladine. The Blades forward missed the rest of that game, but the Blades forward was back in their line-up Tuesday.
The Warriors host the Red Deer Rebels Friday. They host the Vancouver Giants Saturday while honouring the Moose Jaw Canucks and welcoming Chris Chelios back to Moose Jaw Saturday.