Friday, 7 December 2018

Warriors waste little time in reloading, rally for 3-2 win

Tristin Langan had three points in a Warriors comeback win.
    The Moose Jaw Warriors reload appears to have been a quick one.
    Last season, the Warriors finished first overall in the WHL’s regular season standings with a 52-15-2-3 record and bowed out of playoffs in a tough second round series that went seven games to the eventual WHL champion Swift Current Broncos. The Broncos finished second overall in the WHL with a 48-17-5-2 record in the 2017-18 campaign.
    Experiencing significant turnover, the Warriors currently have just seven players on their roster that were with the squad last season. If anyone thought the current campaign was going to be a write off for Moose Jaw, the Warriors appear to have their own ideas about how the season is supposed to go.
    On Friday night at the SaskTel Centre, the Warriors fell behind 2-0 to the host Saskatoon Blades in the first period of a WHL regular season clash only to rally back for a 3-2 victory before 3,236 spectators.
Brodan Salmond stopped 33 shots in goal for the Warriors on Friday night.
    The win allowed the Warriors to improve to 16-6-4-1 and tie the Blades, who fell to 17-10-3, for second in the WHL’s East Division with 37 points in the standings. Warriors overage centre Tristin Langan was the main offensive catalyst in the comeback scoring the equalizer and drawing assists on Moose Jaw’s other two tallies.
    With that outburst, Langan, who is in his fourth WHL campaign, has career highs in goals (20), assists (29) and points (49).
    “I think it is just all of my teammates,” said Langan. “We started the season and no one expected us to do anything.
Brayden Tracey had the winning goal for the Warriors.
    “We’re doing really good.”
    The Warriors started out posting a 7-5-3-1 record over their first 16 games. They are 9-1-1 in 11 contests following that point.
    Thanks to their surge of wins, the Warriors earned an honourable mention in the CHL Top 10 rankings that were released on Wednesday.
    Friday’s victory stopped a mini-skid as Moose Jaw had a regulation and an extra time loss in its two previous contests.
    Still, it appeared Friday’s game was going to be a rocky one for the Warriors.
    After the opening faceoff, the first stoppage occurred at the 4:31 mark of the first period, when Blades left-winger Eric Florchuk tipped a pass from linemate Kirby Dach past Moose Jaw netminder Brodan Salmond to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
    The Blades increased their lead to 2-0 at the 9:29 mark of the opening frame, when left-winger Gary Haden dove and made a pass across the face the Moose Jaw goal to linemate Josh Paterson. 
    Paterson tapped the puck into the open side of the cage to give Saskatoon its two-goal edge.
Kirby Dach set up the Blades first goal on Friday.
    The Warriors halted the Blades momentum with 7:32 remaining in the first on a goal from right-winger Luke Ormsby.
    “I think we came off to a slow start here,” said Langan.  “We came in and gathered ourselves (in the first intermission).
    “We came out and played a solid next 40, so it was nice to get the win out here tonight.”
    Moose Jaw tied things up at 2-2 working on the power play with 4:19 remaining in the second period, when Langan tipped home a point shot from defenceman Jett Woo.
    The Warriors netted the winning goal working on another power play at the 9:37 mark of the third period. Right-winger Brayden Tracey wired home a shot from the front of the Saskatoon goal converting a tick-tack-toe passing play from captain Josh Brook and Langan.
    Moose Jaw connected on two-of-three power-play chances and killed off all five of the Blades power-play opportunities. The Warriors even killed a Blades two-man advantage that lasted 1:48 that started near the end of the second period and ended early in the third.
Captain Josh Brook charges up the ice for the Warriors.
    Entering Friday’s game, the Warriors had a dismal 69.6 per cent success rate on the penalty kill. Langan said his Warriors have been focusing on the penalty kill at practice and is pleased to see results are starting to show from that work.
    “I think we were just bearing down on pucks, being hard around pucks and getting pucks down when we needed it,” said Langan. “It was good to see that we killed them off here.”
    Still, the Blades could have come away with a victory had it not been for Salmond making 33 saves in the Warriors net. Nolan Maier, who is the Blades star goalie, turned away 22 shots in Saskatoon’s cage.
The Blades push for the equalizer in the final seconds of Friday’s game.
    With just under 15 seconds to play in the third, Haden got in alone on the Moose Jaw goal for a prime scoring chance, but Salmond turned back the threat with a kick save.
    The Blades pressured for the equalizer in the dying seconds of the third during frantic action around the Moose Jaw goal. When the clock expired, the coaches and players from Saskatoon were arguing there should have been an offensive zone faceoff as the puck disappeared under the bodies of a couple of Warriors players.
    The two clubs will go at it again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw. Langan said his side has to get a good rest in, when the team bus arrives home in Moose Jaw, and watch some film to prepare for Saturday’s encounter.
The Warriors celebrate their win on Friday night.
    The Swan River, Man., product said his Warriors need to embrace the chance to continue to play well in a season where the Moose Jaw side wasn’t pegged to be one of the league’s elite clubs.
    “We’re just playing as a team,” said Langan. “We’re just taking it one game at a time here, so it is nice.”

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to
    If you like what you see here, you might want to donate to the cause to keep independent media like this blog going. Should you choose to help out, feel free to click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner. Thank you for stopping in.