It wasn’t that long ago that Moose Jaw and Portland were competing for the title of the worst record in the WHL.
Moose Jaw Warriors
Five years later it wasn’t much of a contest when the Portland Winterhawks laid a thumping on the Moose Jaw Warriors by an 8-2 score.
The Warriors were down 4-0 after a period and then the Winterhawks power play finished the job as they converted four of their six power play attempts.
“I didn’t really think the score was indicative of the game. I thought we played hard and I thought we had scoring chances,” Warriors assistant coach Mike Vandenberghe told Country 100 after the game. “I definitely think we had our chances and we just couldn’t bury them. When you make dumb mistakes they can put it in your net. They’re a very talented team.”
The Warriors’ record drops to 13-26-3-3 on the season. They will continue their six-game road trip Saturday night in Everett.
In 2008-09, the Winterhawks and Warriors finished two points apart in the standings. Both teams were playing for a conference title two years later, but the Winterhawks have stayed at that high level, while the Warriors are on pace to miss the post-season for the second straight season.
It didn’t take long for the reigning champions to show why they have a good shot at winning their fourth straight Western Conference crown.
Warriors defenceman Dallas Valentine took an interference penalty less than two minutes into the game and Keegan Iverson scored on the subsequent power play. Paul Bittner, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Brendan Leipsic scored in rapid succession as the Winterhawks took a 4-0 lead after a period.
The Warriors gave the start to 16-year-old Zach Sawchenko after he impressed in relief a week ago. He stopped 15 of 19 shots before he left the game with an injury in the middle of the second period. Justin Paulic came in and allowed four goals on 17 shots.
Vandenberghe said that Sawchenko will be re-evaluated Saturday along with a trio of other players.
“Sawchenko and (Reid) Zalitach, (Jesse) Forsberg and (Jack) Rodewald will all be checked out and we’ll know more (Saturday),” said Vandenberghe.
Forsberg’s night ended after a third period scrap with Adam De Champlain, Zalitach missed three games with an upper body injury two weeks ago and Rodewald missed six weeks with a broken jaw earlier in the season. There was no more information on their status at press time.
Sam Fioretti got the Warriors on the board with a power play goal, but Derrick Pouliot and Dominic Turgeon scored power play goals 32 seconds apart for the Hawks. Taylor Leier had a pair of goals for Portland.
Brayden Point scored his 20th goal of the season on a power play. He and Fioretti both had two-point nights.
The Warriors finished 2-for-8 on the power play in a penalty-filled game.
Chase De Leo had four assists for Portland, Nic Petan had three assists and Mathew Dumba had two assists in his Winterhawks debut.
Brendan Burke made 24 saves to earn the win.