Paulic makes 39 saves in shootout loss
Justin Paulic made 39 saves to make sure the Moose Jaw Warriors earned a point Friday.
The Warriors netminder couldn’t make any more in the shootout as the Warriors fell 3-2 to the Brandon Wheat Kings in Western Hockey League action.
“I was really happy with our performance. It was night and day compared to Wednesday,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “We competed hard, we battled, we played the right way. We played a really good road game. We got ourselves a really valuable point.
“I thought with the effort and the way the guys played they deserved a better fate and should have got a win.”
The Warriors are 4-4-0-1 as the prepare to host Regina Saturday night and Saskatoon Monday afternoon (2 p.m., Mosaic Place).
While the Warriors weren’t able to pick up an extra point in the shootout, Stothers had nothing but praise for his team after a hard-working, high-tempo game against their division rivals.
“I liked the way we played. We were strong on pucks and we were supporting the puck. We had a good forecheck. We did all of the little things that you’re supposed to do to have success,” said Stothers.
The Wheat Kings opened the scoring when Jayce Hawryluk beat Paulic five-hole with a shot from the face-off dot on an odd-man rush. After having one go through him, Paulic was outstanding the rest of the way.
The Warriors special teams got them on track in the second period. Travis Brown made a faked a slap shot and found Torrin White at the side of the net for an easy goal.
On their next power play, Tanner Eberle found an open lane to the net and was able to roof a shot over Wheat Kings goalie Curtis Honey.
Eberle took a cross checking penalty deep in the Brandon zone with 7:30 left. The Warriors had killed off four Wheat Kings power plays, but the Brandon made their fifth count when John Quenneville banged home a rebound to tie the game.
The Warriors got a late power play, but Honey made a great stop on an Eberle rebound attempt to force overtime.
The Warriors had the better chances in in the extra frame, but Bryson Gore was stopped twice in close by Curtis Honey and Wheaties captain Ryan Pulock tied up White’s stick to prevent him from scoring into an empty net on a rebound.
“Really, where Curtis made his best saves was late in the game and then in overtime, because I thought in overtime, they had the better chances,” Wheat Kings GM/head coach Kelly McCrimmon told the Brandon Sun.
Hawryluk and Richard Nejezchleb each scored shootout goals for the Wheat Kings. Brayden Point scored in the shootout, but Brown and Sam Fioretti were stopped.
Brown and Fioretti each had two assists.
Paulic made a number of excellent saves — his best came at full stretch to rob Quenneville on a two-on-one — to keep his team in the game.
Newly acquired defenceman Jesse Forsberg wasn’t in the lineup Friday, but is excepted to make his debut tonight against the Pats.
Fellow 20-year-old Todd Fiddler was healthy scratched. He has two goals and six assists in eight games this season, but five of those points came in one game.