© Katie Brickman
Todd Fiddler of the Moose Jaw Warriors tries to stick handle his way through a group of Medicine Hat Tiger defenders during first period Western Hockey League action on Wednesday evening at Mosaic Place. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
Being ‘too cute’ doesn’t work for Warriors
It is back to basics for the Moose Jaw Warriors.
After winning two games in a row, the Warriors tried too hard to be too good and the end result was a 4-1 loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers in Western Hockey League action on Wednesday evening at Mosaic Place.
“Everyone wanted to make the pretty play and the tic-tac-toe and have all five guys touch the puck. That very seldom happens, but they were bound and determined to make it work,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “We were trying to be too cute, too fancy and trying to force pucks through guys feet and step around them. Medicine Hat is too good with their sticks and they are a good positioning team. We turned a lot of pucks over on our power play. It is back to basics.”
The Tigers (6-1-1-0) did everything they could to snuff out any chances the Warriors attempted by blocking shots, getting sticks in lanes and kept the Warriors (4-4-0-0) to the perimeter, only allowing 20 shots on net.
“We want to make sure that the guys are in the right spots and battling in front of the net and finding shooting and passing lanes,” said Shaun Clouston, head coach for the Tigers. “I think that was really important and we did a good job of that.”
Tommy Vannelli opened the scoring for the Tigers early in the first period with a two-on-one chance that he buried behind Warriors goaltender Justin Paulic. Vannelli cashed in another, his third of the season, with a shot that was deflected by a Warriors stick that was like a knuckleball and past Paulic.
“We try to transition the puck from defence to offence and that first goal was a good example,” said Clouston. “Tommy joined the rush and it paid off.”
Cole Sanford added the Tigers’ third goal with a nice tic-tac-toe play with line-mates Logan McVeigh and Trevor Cox. Forward Hunter Shinkaruk, newly returned to the Tigers from the Vancouver Canucks, continued his point streak with a short-handed goal in the third period to seal the victory.
“We were able to come up with the puck in the neutral zone and bring it the other way,” explained Clouston on the Shinkaruk goal.
The Warriors weren’t able to adapt and adjust their game to what the Tigers were doing on defence and that resulted in turning the puck over and not crashing Daniel Wapple and his crease.
“They did a good job of taking away the lanes and using their sticks and intercepting passes,” said Stothers. “I don’t think we had enough of a shot mentality. We were just looking to pass way too much and we couldn’t generate enough offensively.”
Travis Brown scored the lone goal for the Warriors, on the power play with a nice back end shot that beat Wapple. The Warriors went 1-for-5 on the power play.
“It was pretty tight. There wasn’t a whole lot of room on the ice. It was hard to generate anything for both sides,” said Stothers. “There wasn’t a lot of shots total in the game.”
The Warriors will try their best to shake off this game head to Brandon to face the Wheat Kings on Friday.
“We just move on. It is actually better that we don’t have a lot of time to sit and think about it and that we can get right back at it,” stated Stothers. “It is the only way to do it. We can’t dwell and let it fester. We have to move on, address some things and get back on the ice with a spirited practice."
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