Ice freeze out Warriors

Katie
Katie Brickman
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Reinhart and Bozon score 30 seconds apart en route to 5-1 win

The look at Zach Sawchenko’s face provided clues as to how badly this latest loss stung.

Jagger Dirk of the Kootenay Ice shoves Jack Rodewald of the Moose Jaw Warriors into the boards as they fight for the puck during Western Hockey League action on Wednesday night at Mosaic Place. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

The Moose Jaw Warriors goaltender hung his head and shrugged his shoulders more than once before answering questions.

“It was a good game all around, things just fell apart in the third,” said Sawchenko. “It is a tough one to swallow right now knowing we were with that team the whole way and they just came out on the other end of the stick.”

The Moose Jaw Warriors and the Kootenay Ice were tied for about 50 minutes before the dam broke open.

Two quick goals by Sam Reinhart and Tim Bozon just 30 seconds apart midway through the third period was the nail in the coffin for the Warriors as the Ice skated to a 5-1 victory on Wednesday night in Western Hockey League action.

“A couple blown defensive zone assignments and they capitalized on them,” said Mike Stothers, head coach for the Warriors. “It was a pretty good game up to that point, but you have to give them credit — they capitalized on their chances that were presented to them.”

Reinhart extended his point streak to 21 games in the first period when he picked top corner over Sawchenko’s shoulder to give the Ice the lead.

Jesse Forsberg scored his seventh of the season late in the second period to tie the game and go into the third period with a chance to steal two points from the playoff-bound Ice.

The Ice appeared more determined in the third period to seal the victory, but Sawchenko made some giant saves to keep the score deadlocked.

“We had a lot of chances,” said Bozon. “We have to give credit to the goalie … he played really good.”

Although Bozon and the Ice gave the Warriors credit, they also knew where both teams sat in the standings and the pressure was on the Ice to perform.

“We are supposed to play better than that. It is a team we are supposed to beat, but we know they are a greasy team, so coming into the third, we knew what to do,” said Bozon. “We don’t want to lose these points in the standings.”

Reinhart scored his second of the game on a tip that went through Sawchenko’s five-hole. It was just 31 seconds later that Bozon scored from the slot to open the game.

Bozon then scored another on the power play to put the Warriors away for good.

“We are on short bodies too. We have been playing with only three lines for the last two weeks,” said Bozon. “It is the last nine or 10 games of the season … no matter who you play, you have to be ready every game.”

With about three minutes left, Bozon attracted three Warrior defenders behind the net, which left Jaedon Descheneau alone in the slot to score his 39th of the season.

“We are battling for fourth place in the Eastern Conference,” said Bozon. “We can’t afford to lose points to team like that, even though we respect these teams.”

Although playoffs are not in the cards for the Warriors this season as they have been mathematically eliminated, the hunger is still there.

“There is always pride, showing Moose Jaw what we are made of and getting them ready for next year,” said Sawchenko. “There is also that spoiler mentality that we can take people out of the playoffs … that is always a good feeling.”

The Warriors will be back in action on Friday (7 p.m., Mosaic Place) when Lethbridge comes to town.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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