The Moose Jaw Midget AA Warriors couldn't find a perfect ending to a strong season.
Moose Jaw Minor Hockey
The Warriors used late-game heroics to win Game 2 of their best-of-three South Sask Midget AA Hockey League final series, but they couldn't repeat that feat Tuesday.
Instead the Regina Capitals beat the Warriors 3-1 in the deciding third game to win the league title.
"The boys played extremely well," said Warriors head coach Darren Martens. "We just couldn't get the puck in the net. We were missing the net. We had a chance to tie the game in the third period and we missed an open net. We just missed it. That may have been a turning point. We had the momentum, the puck was in their end and after that miss you could see the tempo went down a little bit."
The Warriors scored twice in the final four minutes to earn a 4-3 win in Game 2 at home. That momentum carried forward into Game 3.
Wyatt Riendeau opened the scoring and gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead after the first period in Regina.
The Capitals tied the game in the second before taking the lead in the third period. The Capitals iced the game with a late power play goal.
"I think we out-played them. The Caps are a very skilled team. The core of the team played together for nine years with the same coach. They're an extremely good team and they deserved to win that game," said Martens. "We don't have quite the same skill level as they do, but I think we probably have a better work ethic. Sometimes skill beats work ethic."
The Warriors had a 23-7-6 record and finished third in the South Sask. Midget AA standings. The Capitals finished the regular season in first place and were two points ahead of the Warriors in the standings.
The Warriors will lose six players to graduation and may have some more move up to the midget AAA ranks.
Martens felt the team had different players step up and make key contributions throughout the season.
"The guys have to keep their heads up because they played extremely well throughout the year. This team wasn't expected to do as well as they did. We lost a lot of fire power to the AAAs," said Martens. "Everybody scored important goals to help the team win though out the year. Both goaltenders played extremely well. It wasn't one individual that helped the team, it was every individual every night."
The Warriors also had four of their players added to the protected lists of Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League teams.
"It was nice to see them get listed over the course of the season," said Martens. "It was a good reward for their efforts."