A late shorthanded goal by the Red Deer Rebels crushed the hearts of the Moose Jaw Warriors last night as they suffered their third straight loss, falling 4-3 in the second game of a three-in-three Central Division road trip.
Despite being outshot 10-9 in the opening frame the Warriors had more time on the attack than the Rebels. Moose Jaw played hard along the boards and below the goal line, they pushed the puck to the blue paint on several occasions but weren’t able to beat Rebels goalie Grant Naherniak, who has been called up by Red Deer from the Moose Jaw Generals.
Moose Jaw had chances to get on the board, the most notable being a post from Jordan Messier. Red Deer turned to their power play to get the game’s first goal, former Regina Pat Dominik Volek feathered a nice pass across the Moose Jaw zone to Turner Elson at 12:58.
It didn’t take long in the second period for the Warriors to find the equalizer. Moose Jaw leading scorer Sam Fioretti intercepted a Red Deer clearing attempt then drove down the left wall, cut across the goal line towards the net. With a defender all over him and one hand on his stick Fioretti was able to dump the puck to Tanner Eberle driving through centre ice where he scored his ninth at 2:54.
Just under two minutes later the Rebels would take the lead when they created a turnover of their own. Moose Jaw was looking to break out of their centre from their end boards, as the pass went through the middle of their zone Tyson Ness intercepted it then beat Justin Paulic blocker side to make it 2-1 Rebels.
Moose Jaw’s power play played a huge part in the third period, first off it produced a game tying goal at 6:55 when Justin Kirsch scored his 13th of the year. Red Deer would take their third lead of the game under two minutes later when tribe again had problems coming out of their zone, the turnover led to a goal from Volek.
With the clock ticking down the boys in black received a late power play and they would capitalize. Kendall McFaull’s point shot went wide, but was picked up by Carter Hansen behind the Rebel net. Hansen came out on the left wing, dishing the puck in front, where on a scramble Messier scored his sixth of the year to tie the game at three.
Minutes later the Warriors pressed inside the Red Deer line, defensemen Devin Fafard tossed the puck over the glass resulting in a delay game penalty, giving Moose Jaw an opportunity to take the lead. However, on a loose puck inside the Rebel line star blueliner Mathew Dumba jumped on it and raced up the ice shorthanded.
He took a shot from the Warrior right circle, Paulic made the save but Dumba grabbed the rebound and went behind the Moose Jaw net. He bobbled the puck which gave the Warriors a chance to clear, but Dumba then stole the puck back, drove in between the circles and with 1:37 remaining in the game scored the eventual game winner.
Moose Jaw tried desperately in the dying seconds to tie the game again, but Naherniak stood his ground, making 27 saves to beat his hometown team. Eberle led the Warriors with a goal and two points; Fioretti had two assists; Paulic made 29 saves in the loss; Moose Jaw was 2-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Now 14-20-3-4 on the year, Moose Jaw will look to salvage this weekend road trip to Alberta Sunday night when they make their final visit of the year to Lethbridge. Join James Gall for all the action starting with the PreGame Show at 6:40pm on Country 100.