Point clutch for Warriors

Katie Brickman
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Star forward involved in almost half of Warriors goals this season

Brayden Point is a difference maker.

Brayden Point, right, from the Moose Jaw Warriors looks to make a pass in front of Regina Pats defenceman Colby Williams.

Not only is he leading the Moose Jaw Warriors in points this season, but he is creating his own chances while making his various line-mates better too.

“I personally don’t think there is anybody that has done more for their organization or hockey club than Pointer,” said Mike Stothers, head coach of the Warriors. “You can look at other guys that have more numbers, but for what we have and where we are, it is a direct reflection on the contribution from Brayden Point.”

Point has 22 goals and 50 points this season in 50 games — making him a point-per-game player — the only player on the Warriors that is at that pace. Captain Sam Fioretti is producing just under a point-per-game.

“He is one of those rare individuals that makes other players better just by playing with them,” said Stothers. “He really takes great enjoyment of setting others up, helping others get on track. If he is not producing, he takes it personally.”

In the last eight games, including the Warriors’ road trip through the U.S. Division, the team scored 18 goals and Point was in on 12 of those goals.

“That is the value that he has to our hockey club,” said Stothers. “I can’t even imagine where we would be without Pointer. He is an unbelievable hockey player and he is determined.”

That determination appeared to be stronger when Point wasn’t officially named to the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects game two weeks ago. He was named as an injury replacement and used that game to show people what his game includes.

“I always try and prove people wrong, whether it be my size or whatnot,” stated Point. “I felt like I had a lot to prove and hopefully I made an impression on some people.”

Point started the season off on a six game point streak, but then fell into a four game drought. He then picked it up with a five game point streak before another four game drought. He then scored points in six straight games before a two game drought. Since the Christmas break, Point has been on fire, scoring 19 points in 13 games.

“I think it (confidence) has gone up a bit. I think I am playing better and more comfortable on the ice,” said Point. “Earlier in the year, I had some troubles putting it in. I think the pucks have started to go in, which is nice.”

The Calgary native quickly brushes off the notion that he is carrying this team, but he has only not registered a point in 17 games this season.

“I don’t know if I am carrying it. I am just trying to do my best and try to pitch in when I can,” he said. “There are a lot of leaders on this team and in the room.”

Stothers sees how much work his star forward has put in since cementing his spot on the top line last season.

“It has a lot to do with his character and his determination,” said Stothers. “He plays hard and practices hard. What fans see in the game, we see everyday in practice.”

Point is a minus-26 on the season, but he eats a lot of minutes for the Warriors on the penalty kill, power play and 5-on-5 action.

“There are some guys on our team that are playing more minutes than they should. It is hard because where do you cut back on his ice time? Do you not have him kill penalties just so we can keep him fresh for more 5-on-5? He is a good penalty killer, he is a threat shorthanded,” Stothers questioned. “He welcomes and relishes the workload. He just wants to be on the ice. It is a win-win for both of us.”

Point doesn’t worry too much about a carousel of line mates he is paired with, just about winning hockey games.

“There are real smart hockey players on this team, so it is easy to play with them,” he said. “I just want to try and make the playoffs … just win as many games as we can.”

Last thought from Stothers: “He is the best in the league, as far as I am concerned.”

TRIBE TIDBITS — Sam Fioretti was suspended three games after an open ice collision with Ryan Chynoweth of Kootenay. There was no penalty on the call, but the Ice asked for supplemental discipline, resulting in the suspension.

“It is just a matter of other guys having to step up,” said Stothers on missing his captain.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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