Warriors find a way

Matthew Gourlie
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Tribe win third straight with 3-2 shootout win in Swift Current

In a season where wins have been hard to come by, the Moose Jaw Warriors won their third straight game Friday.

Tanner Eberle from the Moose Jaw Warriors, right, thwarted a rush by Swift Current Bronco Andrew Johnson in the opening moments of the action in Swift Current Friday.

For now, that’s all that matters to Warriors coach Mike Stothers.

The Warriors blew a 2-0 third period lead against the Swift Current Broncos, but were able to win the shootout 2-1 to give them their longest winning streak of the Western Hockey League season.

“You can say ‘you had a lead’ or whatever, but I don’t look at it like that. I look at it for how we played for 60 minutes and I take it back to the games before Christmas. We’ve played some darn good hockey. It’s the most consistent we’ve been with our game from start to finish,” said Stothers. “That’s the way we’re going to have to play. We can’t allow ourselves to have lapses and we have to make sure that we’re playing the right way.”

The teams will meet again tonight (7 p.m., Mosaic Place) in Moose Jaw.

The Warriors (11-21-3-3) were fantastic in the first two periods as they took the game to the Broncos and kept them on the defensive.

The Warriors opened the scoring when Tanner Eberle’s good work on the forecheck created a turnover and Brayden Point was able to get to the puck first and beat Eetu Laurikainen over the blocker.

The Warriors weren’t creating a lot of chances in the second period, but they were dominating territorially and forcing the Broncos to spent a lot of time in their own end.

That hard work and persistence paid off when Jack Rodewald banged in a loose puck at the side of the net with 5:34 left in the middle frame. The goal came on the first power play of the game and was Rodewald’s 10th of the season as he made his return after missing 14 games with a broken jaw.

The Warriors were out-shooting the Broncos 23-11 after two periods.

“At the end of two they only had 11 shots,” said Stothers. “They were disciplined and as we’ve talked about before: you have to stay disciplined against that team. You don’t want to let them back in the game because of their power play. As it turned out they tied the game on their power play.”

Late in the second period Zac Mackay hit the crossbar on a two-on-one for the Broncos. The red light went off and the goal horn sounded, but after a long review was ruled no goal.

Colby Cave hit the post for the Broncos later in the period and Travis Brown did the same on the next rush down the ice on a Warriors’ three-on-one.

The Broncos hit the post again in the third period and Justin Paulic made a series of great saves off of Graham Black, Jake DeBrusk and Jay Merkley.

The Broncos’ transition game began to earn them a number of odd-man rushes in the later stages of the game.

“If we had any flaw at all, we were guilty of some pinches where we gave up some odd man rushes. We didn’t read the situation well enough, but those are small things in the big picture: we got two points and we got another win,” said Stothers.

“I thought it was a very good hockey game given the break for both teams. It was very entertaining — a little more nerve-racking than I might have liked...”

Merkley got the Broncos on the board midway through the period and then 10 seconds after he hit the post on the power play, Brycen Martin tied the game with 5:49 left.

It was a wild overtime that saw both teams trading chances, but Paulic got enough of a Connor Sanvido chance to keep it out.

In the shootout Paulic stopped a pair of shots and Point and Sam Fioretti scored to give the Warriors their second shootout win of the year. Both shootout wins came in Swift Current.

Laurikainen made 33 saves in goal for the Broncos, but is still looking for his first shootout win of the year.

“I thought everybody played well, whether they got a lot of ice time or if they got limited ice time, everybody did their job,” said Stothers.

The Warriors are now 9-0-1-2 when leading after two periods.

Paulic made 26 saves for the Warriors and had one of his best games of the season.

Organizations: Broncos, Western Hockey League

Geographic location: Swift Current

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