Eberle leads comeback to earn Warriors a point

Matthew Gourlie
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Everett beats Moose Jaw with contested shootout winner

The Moose Jaw Warriors saw a lot of hard work undone by a couple of bad minutes Saturday.

Moose Jaw Warriors

Tanner Eberle scored twice in the third period for the Warriors to force overtime after the Everett Silvertips scored three goals in 2:15 to take a 3-1 lead in the second period.

The Silvertips won 4-3 in a shootout as Manraj Hayer scored the only penalty shot goal in controversial fashion.

“Outside of about four minutes I was happy with how we played,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “Momentum is everything. When you turn the puck over and it costs you a goal against, momentum starts swinging the other way.”

Eberle scored 1:23 into the third period to give the Warriors some momentum of their own. With the Warriors net empty, Eberle was able to beat Silvertips goalie Austin Lotz with a backhand with 33 seconds left to tie the game.

After the first five shooters failed to score, Hayer scored the shootout winner after he had lost control of the puck. The puck had it hit the side boards before Hayer retrieved it and beat Warriors goalie Justin Paulic.

Warriors captain Sam Fioretti made their case that the play should have been dead once it hit the side boards. The Warriors didn’t leave the bench and Stothers asked for the referees to come over and offer their interpretation of what happened. Instead Curtis Marouelli and Jon Stephenson left the ice.

“The guy loses control of the puck and it hits the side boards, so the play should be dead. You don’t have control of the puck. If the boards weren’t there, the puck would still be going,” said Stothers.

The WHL rule book doesn’t address a puck hitting the side boards. Rule 25.2 that deals with penalty shots states in part: The puck must be kept in motion towards the opponent’s goal line and once it is shot, the play shall be considered complete. No goal can be scored on a rebound of any kind ... and any time the puck crosses the goal line or comes to a complete stop, the shot shall be considered complete.

The Warriors record drops to 13-26-3-4 on the season. They will continue their U.S. Division road trip Tuesday against Seattle. They opened the trip with an 8-2 loss Friday in Portland.

“The guys responded well from (Friday) night,” said Stothers. “They could have been pretty disappointed and had their tail between their legs, but I thought they battled hard. That’s a big hockey club they have.

“I’m proud of the guys. They never stopped battling and I honestly felt we deserved to win.

Torrin White opened the scoring early in the second period for the Warriors with his 13th of the season. Brayden Point had a pair of assists and has had a multi-point game in five of their last six outings.

Everett’s Kohl Bauml tied the game with a power play goal and Patrick Bajkov put the Silvertips in front 22 seconds later. Cole MacDonald scored less than two minutes later and the Silvertips took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.

Paulic was sharp and made 36 saves. The Warriors were out-shot 39-19 and were being out-shot 24-10 in the second period while leading 1-0.

Paulic will be leaned on for the rest of the trip after Zach Sawchenko left the game in the middle of the second period in Portland.

Sawchenko is expected to be out for the rest of the trip after suffering a lower body injury. Brody Willms, 15, has rejoined the team from the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Willms was with the team while Sawchenko was at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and made his WHL debut in a 13-minute appearance against Calgary.

Jack Rodewald, who missed 13 games with a broken jaw before returning on Dec. 27, played his first game without a full face shield Friday and has re-injured his jaw. The team won’t know how serious his injury is until he can get back to Moose Jaw and be examined.

“Rodewald got hit in the jaw. He has to be evaluated by the doctor who did the work, so from here we don’t really know for sure,” said Stothers.

Defenceman Reid Zalitach is also expected to be out of the lineup with a lower body injury. Stothers said it was “very highly unlikely” he would be back in the lineup before they return home in a week.

The Warriors have called-up 15-year-old centre Ryan Bowen — another Okanagan Hockey Association player — for the trip. Bowen was the Warriors fifth round pick in last year’s bantam draft.

Organizations: Okanagan Hockey Academy, Okanagan Hockey Association

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, U.S., Seattle Portland Calgary

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