Six unanswersed leads to sixth loss on trip

Matthew
Matthew Gourlie
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Warriors come home winless in seven games

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored early Saturday.

Moose Jaw Warriors

The Kootenay Ice scored often.

Jack Rodewald scored 11 seconds into the game for the Warriors who lead 2-0 early, but the Ice scored six unanswered goals for a 6-2 win in Western Hockey League action in Cranbrook, B.C.

The Warriors came home Sunday with two points and no wins after playing six games in nine nights on the road.

“I knew two goals wasn’t going to be enough. It just had that feel about it,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “Sometimes you get two and you think you might be able to lock it down. Just because of the schedule and the hours that we kept on this trip we knew it was going to be tough to do.

“We have to score more than we’re scoring if we’re going to win games. We can’t go in expecting to win games 2-0, 1-0 or 2-1. It’s unrealistic.”

The Warriors are winless in their last seven games and have scored an average of two goals per game during that stretch. They concluded their six-game west coast road trip with a 0-4-0-2 record.

They lost 8-2 in Portland and were poor in a 4-1 loss to Tri-City, but lost twice in shootouts and blew leads in their two other games where they had a chance to earn a win.

“We needed to generate some more points,” Stothers said of the trip as a whole. “The first one we knew was going to be tough. Portland is a pretty special and a pretty elite team. And they showed that. I thought in the remaining games we matched up better and played well enough to win in Everett, Seattle and Spokane. We didn’t really give ourselves a chance in Tri-City.”

The Warriors have a 13-29-3-5 record on the season.

For the second straight night the Warriors had a good start and a good first period. After Rodewald scored on the game’s first shift, Scott Cooke doubled the Warriors lead before the game was 10 minutes old.

Sam Reinhart got the Ice on the board late in the first period and he tied the game with a power play goal 18 seconds into the second period.

“As the game went on you could see that they were a team that had a week off and were well-rested and we were a team that was a little fatigued,” said Stothers. “When you have a week off, sometimes you get off to a slow start. They’re probably thinking that they’re playing a team that’s at the end of a road trip. They raised their level a bit in the second period and they scored early on that power play.

“Reinhart was very good (Saturday). He is what he is billed as. He is one of those special players. He can make something out of nothing and he comes up with big plays and big goals.”

Luke Philp gave the Ice a lead later in the middle frame before Tim Bozon scored twice to give the Ice all the insurance they would need. Reinhart finished off his hat trick late in the third period.

Rinat Valiev had three assists for the Ice.

Warriors starting goalie Justin Paulic stopped 28 of the 33 shots he faced before he made way for 15-year-old Brody Willms during the radio timeout in the third period.

It was Willms’ his second career WHL appearance. The Okanagan Hockey Academy product stopped five of the six shots he faced. Willms was pressed into duty when Zach Sawchenko went down with an injury in the Warriors’ first game of the trip.

Willms has returned to Penticton, B.C. and Sawchenko is hoping to skate Wednesday to see how close he is to being fit

Rodewald and defenceman Reid Zalitach both finished the trip in the lineup which was a rare piece of good news. It was feared that both were lost for an extended period of time after the loss in Portland.

Rodewald was elbowed in the same spot where he broke his jaw earlier in the season, but only missed one game. Zalitach missed three with a lower body injury.

“It was basically in the same spot ... we got it checked out and after looking at the x-rays and everything else it turned out it was fine,” Stothers said of Rodewald. “We were surprised Zalitach was back as fast as he was. He’s been getting through the games and appears to be no worse for wear. He’s skating very well.”

Defenceman Alexey Sleptsov missed the game after blocking a shot in Spokane. Ben Duperreault was healthy scratched for the second game in a row.

 

Organizations: Western Hockey League, Okanagan Hockey Academy

Geographic location: Kootenay, Cranbrook

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