The Moose Jaw Warriors experienced a feeling they haven’t felt much this season.
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Victory. It was their 16th win this season.
Although both the Saskatoon Blades (16-42-2-3) and the Warriors (16-37-3-6) have been eliminated from playoff contention, the Warriors scored three goals in 2:07 into the third period, lifting them to a 5-2 win over the Blades on Tuesday night in Saskatoon. It snapped a five game losing streak.
“When you win, it feels so good that you want to do it again,” said Stothers.
It was a back-and-forth game with the Blades opening the scoring, but Jesse Forsberg scored just over a minute later in the first period.
Tanner Eberle gave the Warriors the lead in the second period, but again, about a minute later, a Warrior defenceman stumbled behind the net and coughed up the puck. Logan Harland was able to score his second of the game to tie the game once again.
“I thought we played pretty well, but it wasn’t really reflected in the shot clock, which I’m not sure how accurate it was,” said Stothers. “We came in after the second talking about wanting to apply more pressure on them in their end, get more pucks on net.”
The third period was the turning point for the Warriors as Sam Fioretti, Josh Uhrich and Alexey Sleptsov scored in a span of two minutes and seven seconds to secure the victory.
“The guys came out and did a real good job on the forecheck and were able to keep the puck in their zone. It paid off as it went in the back of their net,” said Stothers. “We talked about it before that we need that contribution from everybody and it just makes for a good feeling.”
Sleptsov’s third of the season came on the power play, an area that has been a struggle for the Warriors this year. They also killed off all three Blade extra man opportunities.
“It always feels good to capitalize on your power play opportunities,” said Stothers. “Special teams are an important part of any hockey team. I thought our specialty teams responded very well.”
Jack Rodewald had two assists and now has six points in his last five games. Brayden Point continues to produce for the Warriors, adding three assists against the Blades and has 13 points in his last seven games.
Zach Sawchenko was solid in net for the Warriors. This was the first time in three games that the starting goaltender hasn’t been pulled. Both Justin Paulic and Sawchenko have been pulled the last couple of games.
“It is never something you want to do,” said Stothers of pulling his goalies. “He has been good for us and he has given us a good effort and a good game. He looks like he is pretty confident in there right now. He played very well.”
The Warriors will look to win two games in a row. They haven’t put back-to-back wins together since Dec. 15, Dec. 17 and Dec. 27 when they faced Kamloops, Prince Albert and Swift Current.
Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice will be in town on Wednesday night (7 p.m., Mosaic Place). They recently lost to Spokane on Saturday and this starts a three game road trip through Saskatchewan for the Ice.
“We know that Kootenay is a very good team, but we certainly would like to build on it,” said Stothers. We need to start the way we finished this game. We need to play like we did in the third.”