Warriors lose in overtime

Katie Brickman
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Some Moose Jaw Warriors rookies tasted their first Western Hockey League defeat.

Tyler Steenberger scored just 34 seconds in overtime to give the Swift Current Broncos a 4-3 win on Tuesday night at Mosaic Place in a rookie exhibition game.

“There was fatigue, but I think we came out there and did what we needed to do,” said Jayden Halbgewachs of the Warriors. “I think we out-played them overall, but the chances didn’t come for us.”

The Warriors got on the board early in the first period when Ryan Bowen scored on a goalmouth scramble to put the puck past Broncos goaltender Travis Child.

Unfortunately the lead was short-lived as Cole Johnson wristed a shot past Brody Willms shortly after.

Although the outcome wasn’t what the Warriors were hoping for, head coach Tim Hunter was impressed with what he saw in the team’s first game action.

“It was a good hockey game. We had over 40 shots on net and created lots of scoring chances,” said Hunter. “It was the kind of hockey that we are trying to play … lots of plays, using each other and not just giving the other team the puck.

“I thought we started well and sagged a little bit in the second, but then we finished strong. The compete level is right where it should be … lots of guys battling for pucks.”

The Warriors retook the lead in the second period after Halbgewachs made a strong move towards the net off the rush and Noah Gregor was there to put in the rebound.

“I thought right through the lineup, everyone played well. It is a great sign that these young guys are capable of playing in the Western Hockey League and they showed it tonight,” said Hunter.

It was a busy third period with three goals being scored. Bowen got his second of the game on the power play by batting in the puck at the side of the net after a nice pass from Brett Howden.

Just 31 seconds later though, Luca Leone scored to cut the Warriors’ lead. Leone scored again to tie the game up at 3-3 midway through the third.

Both teams combined for 1-for-15 on the power play.

Hunter said there weren’t any particular players that stood out to him, rather the group worked well together.

“Everyone is close and there are a lot of guys that are going to make for tough decisions … that is what you want,” he said. “They all played well. It makes your decisions hard when there is not a clear cut top three or four prospects, (rather) there are 19 guys that competed and played well.”

As this game was a first for many of the players, it was also a first for Hunter behind the Warriors bench.

“It was fun. It was a little strange not having been behind the bench in a while, but it felt great,” he said. “It was good to get behind the bench and get going and get in my routine.”

The Warriors will play another rookie exhibition game on Thursday in Regina.

Halbgewachs strives for next step

Jayden Halbgewachs feels like he has a lot to prove to the Moose Jaw Warriors.

“I thought, overall, for myself, it was a good game,” he said. “I came out hard and got lots of ice time. I just want to show the coaching staff, the fans and everybody what I can do and play my best.”

The 17-year-old forward made a bit of a statement in the rookie exhibition game against the Broncos on Tuesday night.

Halbgewachs set up one goal after a good rush up the ice and went hard to the net, creating an easy chance for his teammate.

He was also crafty with the puck throughout the game and had good energy.

“The outcome wasn’t what I wanted, but I was just out there trying to do my best,” he said. “I just wanted the coaching staff to notice me and put me on the team.”

Halbgewachs played four games as an affiliate player with the Warriors last year and that helped him realize what he needed to do in the off-season to prepare for this year.

“Last year playing in the regular season was a big step going from midget AAA, but I think overall, I helps out,” he said.

Playing in the exhibition game was the first step for him as he hopes to push for a spot on the roster.

“This (game) is important and a good step towards the real games. You want to start at a spot and build from there,” he said. “This year, I am pushing for a spot. It is next step in my career and I want to be a Moose Jaw Warrior this year. It is huge for me.”

Halbgewachs played last season with the Regina Pat Canadians and is looking forward to Thursday’s tilt against the Pats.

“Regina is always a fun team to play and I played two or three last year against them,” he said. “It is always nice to play in your hometown and in that rink in front of my family and friends. It is a treat playing in Regina."

Katie Brickman can be reached at 306-691-1260 or on Twitter @katiebrickman.

Organizations: Western Hockey League

Geographic location: Regina, Moose Jaw

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