Visitors use their speed to great use in 6-0 win
They say speed kills.
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Medicine Hat Tigers goalie Marek Langhamer kicks out his right pad to rob Moose Jaw Warriors Sam Fioretti in close in the first period of Friday's game.
It certainly killed the Moose Jaw Warriors Friday.
The Medicine Hat Tigers' used their ample speed to carve up the Warriors as they skated away from Mosaic Place with a 6-0 win in Western Hockey League action.
"They're fast, but we made them look fast. We did a lot of standing around. We were very hesitant and indecisive. I don't know if their speed paralyzed our thinking process, but we weren't sharp mentally," said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers.
The Tigers' had beaten the Warriors 6-1 a week ago in the Medicine Hat Arena, but the lessons from that game didn't stick. A week ago the Tigers scored three times in less than four minutes in the second period and Friday the Tigers scored five goals in 7:34 early in the second period to break the game open.
"The only way for us to counter their speed is to move the puck. They can't skate as fast you can pass the puck. You have to head-man it to the guy that's open and give it to him right away," said Stothers who felt his team tried to rush the puck themselves too often or dwelled on it trying to make a decision with time they didn't have against the aggressive Tigers' forecheck.
"They're hard to play against in all zones," said Stothers. "They have a good forecheck going, they're quick to recover, they come at you and they pressure through the neutral zone. Their forwards do a good job of coming back and supporting their D."
While the Warriors had a decided size advantage up front, they spent the second period chasing shadows. Five of the six Tigers goal-scorers were five-foot-nine or shorter.
"We're a smaller team. We're not the biggest bunch, but we pride ourselves on our speed. We're a really fast team, a quick team," said Tigers left winger Trevor Cox. "When we get pucks deep we really put pressure on the other team's d-men to make good plays. When they make a mistake, we try to capitalize on it."
Cox scored on the Tigers first shot of the game as he finished off a three-on-two rush 3:39 in.
The Warriors were actually the better team for the rest of the first period. Warriors forward Sam Fioretti rolled a shot through the crease, hit the side of the post and was robbed by Medicine Hat goalie Marek Langhamer. The Czech goalie stoned Jack Rodewald in close and Bryson Gore just missed with a short-handed chance.
"We might have been OK in the first, but we weren't great," said Fioretti, the Warriors captain, who returned after missing three games due to injury. "We're too easy to play against right now. We're losing battles all over the ice and it caught up to us in the second period. They exposed it for what it was."
The Tigers scored four goals in 4:16 to blow the game wide open. Two of the goals came on odd-man rushes, another was on a partial breakaway. The fifth goal came when Warriors goalie Zach Sawchenko coughed up the puck behind his net and Chad Butcher potted his second goal in as many shifts.
Sawchenko was pulled after allowed five goals off of a dozen shots.
Stothers called a time out after the third Tigers goal, but it did nothing to stop the bleeding or stem the Tiger's momentum.
The Tigers defence made quick, crisp passes to spring their speedy forwards and create odd-man rushes. The Tigers had a pair of three-on-ones that failed to bury or it could have been worse.
"Our game plan most nights is to be relentless — get pucks deep, keep it simple, get bodies to the net, get pucks to the net. We seem to wear teams down. By the second and third period we're usually rolling over teams and that seemed to happen here tonight," said Cox who had a goal and two assists.
Cole Sanford also had a goal and two assists for the Tigers who also got goals from Curtis Valk and Miles Koules.
German import Markus Eisenschmid and enforcer Jacob Doty are the only Tigers forwards who are six-feet tall or more.
"If you have enough speed up front I think you can make up for the lack of size," said Stothers. "They have some smart hockey players who can play with the puck and without the puck. I think we have the makings to be a fast team down the road. I think we're faster than we showed tonight."
The Warriors (15-36-3-6) are in Brandon tonight.
Warriors winger Tanner Eberle laid out Tigers defenceman Matt Staples with a big hit in the first period, but left the game in the third period with a lower body injury. He is questionable for Saturday's game in Brandon.
Langhamer made 24 saves to pick up his second shutout of the season.
Justin Paulic made 21 saves in relief of Sawchenko.
Before the game the chair of the K+S Potash Canada Warriors Alumni golf tournament presented a cheque for $80,136 to the the Warriors Education Fund. In four years the alumni golf tournament has raised in excess of $300,000.