Warriors comeback falls short

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Rockets win eight straight; Warriors drop sixth straight

The ending wasn’t how the Moose Jaw Warriors scripted it to go.

Josh Uhrich of the Moose Jaw Warriors looks for the rebound after Jordan Cooke, goaltender of the Kelowna Rockets made the initial save during Western Hockey League action on Wednesday evening at Mosaic Place. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

By Katie Brickman

“It is just a mind-set,” stated Mike Stothers, head coach for the Warriors. “It is tough when you know you are up against a top opponent. Sometimes you talk yourself into it being a long night. The lesson here is that you are never out of it.”

The Warriors (8-20-3-3) looked very much out of when the best team in the Western Hockey League, the Kelowna Rockets scored four goals. However, the Warriors made some adjustments after the first period, but the comeback fell short.

The Rockets (24-3-0-2) have now won eight straight games, doubling up the Warriors 6-3 on Wednesday evening at Mosaic Place.

“I thought it was a great comeback. I thought the guys really put forth a great effort after the first period,” said Stothers. “It would have been very easy at any point just to say it is too hard, but they didn’t. From that aspect, their commitment to stay with it, I applaud them.”

The Rockets dominated much of the play in the first period, including holding the Warriors deep in their defensive zone and not allowing them much space on offence.

“When we play consistently like we did in the first period, I think that is when we have had a lot of success,” stated Ryan Huska, head coach of the Rockets.

Myles Bell and Nick Merkley gave the Rockets the lead in the first period. The Rockets added to their total early in the second period when Damon Severson and then Bell added a short-handed goal.

“We talked about not worrying so much about what they were doing and do more of what we do,” said Stothers. “We made the first period pretty easy for them. We gave them a lot of ice and let them dictate how they entered our zone and how long they were staying in our zone.”

Shortly after the Bell short-handed goal, there was a full line brawl, which seemed to spark the Warriors offensively.

“I think we started to play a style more that they wanted to play — the scrums and different things after the whistle,” said Huska. “I think we got too mixed up in that and that is what turned the game a little bit.”

Ben Duperreault broke the shutout and then Miles Warkentine scored his first of the season short-handed in the second period.

The Warriors continued to push in the third period creating chances early and forcing Rockets’ goaltender Jordan Cooke to make tough saves.

Scott Cooke also scored his first of the season and as a member of the Warriors, potting in a rebound.

“I think they just came out really hard and it was hard for us to adjust, but as soon as we adjusted, we came back hard with our four lines,” said Cooke. “We contributed goals from the younger line and our line contributed. We fought back hard, but in the end, it was just too much.”

The Rockets sealed the victory with goals by Carter Rigby and Ryan Olsen scored on the empty net late in the third period.

“It is just a tough ending,” stated Stothers. “The story was so good for a while. We just needed to re-do the script a little bit.”

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman

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