Warriors finish trip with weekend split
The Moose Jaw Warriors used a fast start to get off to a good finish to their Alberta road trip.
© photo by Rob Wallator courtesy of the Red Deer Advocate
Red Deer's Lukas Sutter battles with Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman Jesse Forsberg in front of Warriors goalie Justin Paulic.
The Warriors used an improved first period performance to help pace them to a 4-3 win in Red Deer Sunday night. The win was in stark contrast to Saturday when the Calgary Hitmen scored the first five goals of the game in a 7-3 win.
“We seemed ready to go right from the opening faceoff and we never let up. We were good again tonight,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers.
The Warriors lost two of their three games on the trip and have a
13-24-3-3 record in Western Hockey League play. The Warriors will host Red Deer on Friday night.
Warriors 4 Rebels 3
Jack Rodewald netted his first WHL hat trick and got the Warriors off on the right foot with a power play goal 4:21 into the game. He finished with four points, Brayden Point had three assists, while Tanner Eberle had the other goal and an assist as the Warriors top line played well.
The trio was a combined minus-six in Calgary, but had a good bounce-back game.
“They were really good. They got a lot of ice time. They were going every second shift,” said Stothers. “Jack ended up with three and he had a glorious chance at a fourth one. They were sharp and they had their legs. Everyone else played well as well.”
Vukie Mpofu and Matt Bellerive tied the game for Red Deer at different points in the first period, but Eberle put the Warriors ahead in the second and Rodewald scored a power play goal 50 seconds into the third period to put the Warriors ahead 4-2.
Lukas Sutter on a five-on-three power play for the Rebels, but the Warriors penalty kill came up big as they played the final 1:23 short-handed, but hung on for the win.
“We did some good thing on our power play. We got some traffic in front. We moved the puck well. We weren’t standing stationary,” said Stothers. “I thought our penalty kill did a really good job for the most part on this whole trip. Specialty teams weren’t really the problem (on the trip), if you want something to feel good about.”
Justin Paulic made 36 saves as the Warriors surrendered 39 shots for the second straight night.
“It’s not so much the shots as the chances and we did a pretty good job of keeping them to the outside for the most part,” said Stothers.
Travis Brown had a pair of assists for the Warriors.
Patrik Bartosak made 35 saves in goal for the Rebels.
Hitmen 7 Warriors 3
It was an ugly night in the Saddledome for the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Alex Roach scored 1:56 into the game for the Hitmen to get them off to a fast start.
Greg Chase scored twice and added a pair of assists for Calgary who also got two goals from Jake Virtanen.
“It was one of those maddening ones. It was very disappointing,” said Stothers. “They’re big, they’re talented and you can’t have anything less than all 20 guys going and unfortunately we didn’t have enough. We had some, but not enough. You’re not going to to get the result you’re looking for on the road against those guys with everyone going.”
The teams combined for 191 minutes in penalties in a game that featured a match penalty and six game misconducts.
In the first period Calgary's Joe Mahon got a match penalty for head-butting in a fight with Scott Cooke. The Warriors weren't able to capitalize on the five-minute power play while trailing 1-0.
Midway through the third period a line brawl involving the Warriors top line. Eberle hit Calgary’s Pavel Padakin and Virtanen went after Rodewald — who is still wearing a full face shield after missing 13 games with a broken jaw. Eberle was ejected for being the third-man in. Point and Rodewald were also ejected as were Virtanen, Padakin and Linden Penner from Calgary.
Brody Willms came into the Warriors goal to make his WHL debut after Virtanen put the Hitmen ahead 6-1. Willms stopped four of the five shots he faced in more than 13 minutes and the 15-year-old call-up picked up an assist. Willms is acting as the Warriors back-up goalie while Zach Sawchenko competes at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Cooke and Bryson Gore scored for the Warriors in the third period to halve the Calgary lead to 6-3 before Brody Brassart scored for the Hitmen.
Torrin White scored the Warriors first goal and had a two-point night.
Travis Sanheim had the other Hitmen goal.
Paulic stopped 28 shots before being pulled, while Mack Shields made 28 saves for the Hitmen.
Reid Zalitach returned to the lineup for the Warriors after missing three games with an upper-body injury and had an assist in both weekend games.
Brandon Potomak missed the Red Deer game with a lower body injury and will be examined by the team doctor Monday when they arrive back in Moose Jaw. Captain Sam Fioretti and Miles Warkentine both missed Sunday’s game with the flu. That left the Warriors with only 11 forwards.
“They were quite ill,” said Stothers. “Here we go all driving back on the bus together so hopefully that doesn’t work its way through the team.”