Sawchenko back in crease

Katie Brickman
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Warriors dealing with injuries

The list of healthy players on the Moose Jaw Warriors might be a bit smaller than the list of injured players.

Moose Jaw Warriors goaltender Zach Sawchenko dons the Hockey Hall of Fame Chris Chelios jersey during warm ups prior to their Western Hockey League game earlier this season. After missing three weeks due to an injury, he is back in the lineup. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

“Right now, it is a short list,” said Mike Stothers, head coach of the Warriors.

The team heads up to Prince Albert on Friday night to face the ninth place Raiders. They will be without forward Brandon Potomak, who was not on the ice for practice on Thursday and it out with an upper body injury.

Colton McCarthy is also unavailable with an upper body injury and Jesse Forsberg is questionable with a lower body injury. Tyler Brown is hoping to play on Friday, but was wearing a no-contact jersey in practice.

Tanner Eberle also hobbled off the ice in pain during practice, but his status is unclear.

“For the most part, our guys play hard and they are not the biggest guys, so it is hard to not break down in one way, shape or form,” said Stothers. “It is hard to believe that we came back from that U.S. road trip very favourable and now we are hurt. It is a little discouraging.”

The Warriors did get some good news as Miles Warkentine will be back in the lineup after he missed two games with a lower body injury and goaltender Zach Sawchenko will be back after missing seven games due to an ankle injury.

“I am really happy to be back on the ice now that the ankle is healthy and improving each day,” said Sawchenko. “Obviously, it is a big step and I am happy to be back on the ice.”

Sawchenko played just over 27 minutes in the game against Portland on Jan. 17 when he got injured. He has missed action since then.

“You can look at it as frustrating, but you can also look at it like this gave him a chance to strengthen other areas of his body,” said Stothers. “We want Sawies to play more than he did in the first half. He has earned it. We are looking at our team now and down the road.”

This was the first major injury that Sawchenko has had to deal with in his career and after a successful U17 tournament, it has been a frustrating experience.

“That is part of life. It doesn’t always go your way. I’ve been told that everything happens for a reason, so hopefully something good will come out of it,” Sawchenko stated, looking on the positive side. “I think I have worked real hard, coming in the mornings and doing treatment. Brooke (Kosolofski) has done an exceptional job too. All credit to him.”

Stothers hadn’t made a decision on who would start in goal for his team against the Raiders. He was going to talk to Jamie Hodson, goalie coach, after practice as well as (Justin) Paulic and Sawchenko to see how everyone felt.

“Sawies has had some success in P.A., but we have to do what is best for him, first and foremost,” said Stothers. “I want to know in his own mind, if he is comfortable in the crease and comfortable with the mechanics of his body.”

The Warriors will look to break a season-high nine game losing streak against the Raiders.

The team will host the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday (7 p.m., Mosaic Place). 

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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