Disastrous middle period sinks Warriors

Matthew
Matthew Gourlie
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Brandon scores five straight goals in 8-4 comeback win

The Moose Jaw Warriors played pretty hard Friday, but they sure didn't play smart.

Moose Jaw Warriors captain Sam Fioretti jams the puck past Brandon Wheat Kings goalie Jordan Papirny but failed to find the back of the net in first period action Friday at Mosaic Place.

A raft of mistakes cost the Warriors as they gave up five second period goals to the Brandon Wheat Kings as the visitors skated away to an 8-4 win over the Warriors at Mosaic Place.

“The mistakes were inexcusable and they end up in the back of your net,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “I thought we played a really good first period. The second period, for whatever reason, there were turnovers, giveaways, poor decisions, penalties ... that pretty much sums up the result.”

The Warriors will look to get back on track tonight when they travel to play the Regina Pats (7 p.m., Brandt Centre). The Pats blew a 6-2 third period to lose 7-6 in overtime against the Prince Albert Raiders.

The Warriors out-shot the Wheat Kings 7-0 to open the game and took a 1-0 lead after a period thanks to a Sam Fioretti power play goal. Torrin White scored on a short-handed breakaway early in the second period to double their lead.

“I thought we had a great first period, but it’s a matter of playing 60 minutes in this league,” said Fioretti. “It’s something we need to start doing if we’re going to have success.”

Brandon responded to White’s short-handed goal by scoring on the same power play and reeled off four goals in 3:36 to take a 4-2 lead.

“We can’t take that many penalties in any game, especially against a team like Brandon that has the weapons that they have. It’s a matter of keeping our feet moving and making the smart play,” said Fioretti whose team took five minor penalties and a five-minute major in the second period alone. “Give them credit they have some great guys on the power play with (Ryan) Pulock shooting the puck. We need to have a little more desperation to get in front of shots, get pucks out and to win some draws to help our kill out.”

John Quenneville scored the Wheat Kings’ fifth straight goal in the second period before Moose Jaw’s Tanner Eberle struck back with a power play goal.

“Things picked up fast and once we got the momentum we didn’t lose it,” said Quenneville who scored twice and finished with five points. “I thought Moose Jaw shot the lights out in the first period. They dominated and obviously we needed to have a response.”

The Wheat Kings scored on three of their first four power play chances and were 4-for-8 on the night.

“When you get power plays it’s a game-changing opportunity and we took advantage. We worked on our power play a lot and it paid off,” said Quenneville.

Of the four quick goals, two beat Warriors goalie Justin Paulic along the ice. A bad turnover by White helped gift the Wheat Kings another one of those goals.

The Warriors killed off a 5-on-3 power play to open the third period after Eberle was give a checking to the head major and a game misconduct late in the second period.

Fioretti’s second goal of the game got them back to within 5-4 with nearly 15 minutes left.

Any momentum the Warriors had went out the window when Tyler Coulter scored his first WHL goal. Coulter was nearly behind the red line when he scored, but Wheat Kings forward Jayce Hawryluk bumped into Paulic. The Warriors goalie was spinning from the contact when Coulter’s shot hit him in the back and went in.

“I don’t know how many people were here tonight, but everyone saw there was contact with our goalie except the four guys who make the decision,” said Stothers.

Hawryluk scored his second of the night and Brett Kitt scored the Wheat Kings’ fourth power play goal of the game — the second which came six seconds into a power play — to round out the scoring. Pulock and Eric Roy had the other Brandon goals.

The Warriors were punished for their mistakes, but they had plenty of chances. White hit the post in the first period and Josh Uhrich hit the post late in the second period when the Warriors were down 5-3 and had a little momentum going.

Paulic made his exit after the seventh Brandon goal. He stopped 28 of the 35 shots he faced. Stothers said he didn’t want to put Zach Sawchenko in earlier because the Warriors were starting the third period with an extended short-handed stretch and a looming two-man disadvantage.

Sawchenko stopped five of the six shots he faced and will get the nod tonight in Regina.

The Warriors used 11 forwards as Ben Duperreault was out due to a coach’s decision. Duperreault is expected to be back in the lineup tonight. Eberle will likely be suspended by the league following his major penalty and game misconduct.

Scott Cooke made his Warriors debut and was arguably the team’s best player on the night playing on a line with Fioretti and Brayden Point.

Organizations: Brandon Wheat Kings, Brandt Centre

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Brayden Point

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