Warriors blow 4-1 lead to Pats in shootout loss
In a different season, the Moose Jaw Warriors performance Friday might have been a nice moral victory.
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Moose Jaw Warriors goalie Justin Paulic stops Regina Pats winger Braden Christoffer in close in Western Hockey League action Friday at Mosaic Place.
Unfortunately for the struggling Warriors they need every actual victory they can get.
The Warriors worked hard and had a strong bounce-back performance after an awful weekend, but still lost 5-4 in a shootout to the Regina Pats at Mosaic Place.
“I think we made some huge strides from the way last weekend went. I was happier with how we played and the amount of time we played,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers.
“We certainly played well enough to get two (points). We could have had two, but it’s an evaluation of where we were to where we are and I thought the response was good. As a coach, that’s what you want.”
The Warriors took the first 10 shots of the game and grabbed a 1-0 lead thanks to Kirk Johnson’s first goal of the season. Boston Leier tied the game late in the first period 15 seconds into the Pats first power play.
Despite dominating the first 20 minutes and not leading, the Warriors came out and out-played the Pats again in the middle frame.
Brayden Point scored twice on the power play and Alex Chirva scored his second of the season to stake the Warriors to a 4-1 lead.
“We worked hard. Like a lot of our games, we work hard, but we fell short tonight. Efforts like that will win us games,” said Point who had three points and played one of his best games of the season. “It’s a little frustrating, but I think we need to use that as more motivation to bring a better game to get those extra points.”
Late in the second period the Warriors were looking for their third power play goal in as many chances in the frame. Instead Leier beat Travis Brown at the blue line and set up Chandler Stephenson for his league-leading fifth short-handed goal of the season with 1:56 left in the period.
“They had three quick ones there, so we had to stop the bleeding. It was a great pass by Boston and I just had to get it up,” said Stephenson.
“You have to give Moose Jaw credit, they played two great periods. They really gave it to us. I feel like luck was on our side tonight. You have to play a full 60 to win a hockey game and I felt like we only played 20 or 25 minutes of the game.”
The Warriors were able to hold off the Pats for much of the third period, but Dyson Stevenson scored with less than eight minutes left before Stephenson tied the game with 3:34 remaining.
Stothers felt that some of their younger players were looking to not make mistakes and ended up playing not to lose rather than playing to win.
“We have to finish it and close it out. We need to keep playing to win. We can’t play to keep pucks out of our we need to play to put them in their net,” said Point.
Torrin White was nearly the Warriors’ hero, but he hit the post in the final 30 seconds.
Justin Paulic made a pair of great saves in overtime off of Leier, but couldn’t stop Leier or Stevenson in the shootout. White was the only one of the Warriors four shooters to score as they lost their third shootout in four tries this season.
Stothers was happy with the way the team was the aggressor physically and they way they didn’t back down after the Pats were the physical initiators when they beat the Warriors 6-1 Saturday.
“There was some scrums and we held our ground. There weren’t any backwards steps. I think that’s important,” said Stothers. “I don’t know if people were thinking it was going to be a cage match, but you just have to draw a line in the sand and say this my ground and I’m entitled to it.”
Nick Schneider, 16, beat the Warriors for the second time in a week. He made 30 saves to win his second career game.
Paulic made 30 saves in goal for the Warriors.
Tribe tidbits … with Darin Chow’s appointment to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Saskatchewan, he will no longer be able to serve as the Warriors’ governor. That position will go to current team president Chad Taylor. Chow, the team’s former president, had to leave his post on the Warriors board when he received his provincial court appointment in 2012.