REGINA — The Moose Jaw Warriors came ready to battle this weekend.
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Moose Jaw Warriors goalie Zach Sawchenko, kicked out his left leg to get just enough of an Adam Brooks shot to deny the Regina Pats centre Saturday night at Mosaic Place.
For two games they battled hard enough to win.
Sunday it they had to wage a war on too many fronts — against injuries, calls and ultimately, a talented Regina Pats team — to succeed.
The Warriors lost 6-2 Sunday in Regina following an emotional 6-5 overtime win in Moose Jaw Saturday.
Now the Warriors (26-34-4-1) are also battling time as they try to claw their way back into the Western Hockey League's playoff race.
"Everyone battled hard," said Warriors captain Brayden Point. "We didn't have some calls go our way and we weren't able to get the job done."
The Warriors picked up four out of a possible six points, but with nine games remaining they sit seven points behind Edmonton for the wild card spot. They're eight points behind Swift Current for third place in the East Division.
"These are key points for our team and the organization. I want to chip in as best I can because we really need these wins badly," said Warriors rookie Brett Howden who made some big contributions this weekend. "I really want to make the playoffs."
Injuries took a big toll on the Warriors. They began the weekend without 19-year-old import Axel Blomqvist who is nursing a groin strain. Friday they lost defenceman Tyler Brown and 20-year-old left winger Jaimen Yakubowski with upper body injuries and they lost 20-year-old left winger Tanner Eberle Saturday with an upper body injury. All four players are listed day-to-day. Eberle and Yakubowski both appeared to have injured their shoulders at the time of their injuries.
Pats 6 Warriors 2
There wasn't much going on for two periods between the two tired clubs. Regina's Pavel Padakin notched the game's first goal on a penalty shot.
The call came after Warriors defenceman Dustin Perillat lifted Padakin's stick and the Russian still managed to get a good shot away.
Padakin's goal stood up until the third period, when Howden tied the game 1:29 into the final frame.
Rykr Cole put the Pats ahead again 46 seconds later, but Howden and Jiri Smejkal's good work behind the Regina net allowed Howden fed Torrin White to bang in a goal from the crease to tie the score at 2-2.
"We just wanted to keep playing the way we were playing because we were playing well. We wanted to keep battling. We knew we were tired going into the third, but we didn't want that to be an excuse," said Howden. "We started (the third) well, but we have to be better with shifts after we score. We can't let them come back and score."
The Pats went ahead for good when Colby Williams' centering pass went off of Braden Christoffer and in. Padakin found a loose puck in a scramble to put the Pats ahead 4-2.
Another penalty that had the Warriors bench enraged ended a Warriors power play and Jesse Gabrielle scored on that power play before Adam Brooks scored into an empty net.
The Pats clinched a playoff spot with the win.
Brody Willms made a number of good saves in the first two periods to hold the Warriors in the game. He finished with 33 saves.
Warriors 6 Pats 5 (OT)
Much like Sunday, the Warriors were desperately short of forwards late in Saturday's game and looking for someone to step up and be a hero.
Howden and Jesse Shynkaruk did just that.
Howden scored with 3:04 left in the third period to force overtime and Shynkaruk scored 1:31 into overtime to give the Warriors a 6-5 win over the Regina Pats in front of 4,485 at Mosaic Place.
"That was the probably the biggest goal I've ever scored in my life. I don't think I've ever scored in overtime before. I think I still have chills," Shynkaruk said just after Saturday's game.
Shynkaruk was thrust into a larger role with the Warriors' injuries and made the most of it.
"That's what this game is about, giving other guys opportunities," said Warriors head coach Tim Hunter. "Shynkaruk has been playing better in the last little while and I rewarded him with some more ice time and bingo it's in the net."
Brooks gave the Pats a 2-0 lead, but eight seconds after the second goal Jack Rodewald got the Warriors on the board.
Eberle scored to tie the game and then scored again 23 seconds later on a power play after Williams took a slashing penalty while the Warriors celebrated the goal. Point also scored to give the Warriors a 4-2 lead heading into the third.
Gabrielle, Brooks and Patrick D'Amico scored for the Pats who went ahead with 4:32 left in the third period.
Howden's tying goal needed a lengthy review before the puck was deemed to have crossed the line by the faintest of margins.
In overtime a good pinch by Ryan Gardiner led to Smejkal feeding Shynkaruk who picked the top corner to end the game.
"There was a ton of ice for everyone. Every guy stepped up and it was good to see," said Shynkaruk. "We're going to see what we've got with Ebs and Yak and Bloomer, but we're going to go with what we got. If everyone works hard hopefully we can earn a playoff spot."
The Warriors will host Medicine Hat Wednesday as they begin a three-game home stand.