For the second straight weekend the Moose Jaw Warriors will be tested physically and mentally as they play three games in three nights which opens tonight with their first trip of the season to Brandon.
There first three-in-three was last weekend, the team posted a 1-1-1 record. It started with a 3-2 win over the Raiders in the first game of a weekend double header in Prince Albert, the next night the Raiders got some revenge by downing the Tribe 5-1, it concluded Sunday with a 3-2 overtime loss to Medicine Hat at Mosaic Place.
“Working hard and going to the net,” said Fioretti when talking about the focus during practice this week. “It’s just been the same things that we’ve been working on all season and perfecting them.”
Moose Jaw is 1-0 against the Brandon this season; they posted a one-sided 6-1 win back on September 29th at Mosaic Place. That night Fioretti led the charge with a hat trick and four points and says going east tonight they forwards will have to be physical against the big Brandon defence. “Not only are they big but they’re skilled,” said Fioretti when talking about the Brandon defence. “We have to make it hard on them, come in and finish our checks otherwise they’re going to have an easy night getting the puck out.”
Morgan Rielly had two assists against the Wheat Kings in their only meeting this season, and talks about the keys when breaking out of the Warriors zone. ““As a whole we have to have quicker break out passes and try to catch the other team on a change. We have to be quicker coming out of our own end, chip pucks deep, then try to get after them.”
“I think focusing in our defensive zone, knowing where you have to be and knowing where your guy is,” said Fioretti when talking about a small detail that can go a long way for the Warriors. “Against a team like this, if a guy like (Ryan) Pulock gets open he’s the kind of guy that can make you pay.”
Special teams will more than likely impact the hockey game in some way, the Warriors power play heads into the night at 25.3% overall and 22.2% on the road. “Against Brandon, as a whole they’re obviously a pretty good team, if we have a chance to go on the power play we certainly have to capitalize,” said Rielly when talking about the power play. “It all starts with getting our point shots through to the net and then crashing and banging a little bit. Brandon has a pretty good goalie and I think we need to get our point shots on them.”
Catch all the action from Brandon with James Gallo starting with the PreGame Show at 6:10pm Country 100, DiscoverMooseJaw.com, and mjwarriors.ca.
Saturday night the Warriors entertain former teammate Brandon Glover and the Seattle Thunderbirds (7pm), the weekend wraps up with a tilt against the Calgary Hitmen (6pm).
Doucette Finding Success Early
In his second season with the Warriors, Braiden Doucette is starting to look more comfortable playing in the WHL. He’s been logging more and more ice time each game and has played in all 16 games so far this season.
Doucette says he feels he’s playing better this season, “The coaches are showing a lot of faith in me, putting me in situations that I never got to last year, so it’s nice to get into it now, so that later I’ll know what to expect.”
Assistant coach Mike Vandenberghe, who works with the defence for the team, says Doucette has been great this year for them, “He’s stepped up and taken a different role than he had last year, obviously he didn’t play a whole lot last year, but this year he came in ready to go and he’s a little bit stronger and a little bit quicker.
“He’s getting more confident with the puck and doesn’t have as many moments as he did last year,” added Vandenberghe. “He’s one of our smartest defenceman and he uses his smarts to his advantage.”
Doucette finished with two assists and was a plus-4 in 46 games during his rookie season. He’s still searching for his first WHL goal heading into the weekend with one assist so far this season.
Western Canada Under 16 Challenge Day 1 Recap…
Moose Jaw Warrior prospects Ryan Gardiner and Zachary Sawchenko are in Calgary this weekend to take part in the Western Canada Under 16 Challenge.
Gardiner, who plays with the Midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers and was a third round 2012 Bantam pick by the Warriors, was pointless for Manitoba in a 6-3 loss to Saskatchewan. Ethan Bear had two goals and Moose Jaw AAA General Rykr Cole had a goal and two points for Saskatchewan.
Sawchenko, who plays with the Midget AAA Notre Dame Argos and was a second round 2012 Bantam pick by the Warriors, made 40 saves for Alberta in a 4-3 shootout loss to British Columbia. Jansen Harkins scored the shootout winner and Matthew Barzal had two goals as BC erased in a 3-0 deficit in the third period.
Coming up later today Saskatchewan takes on BC (11:30am) and Manitoba battles Alberta (3pm).
Who is the Ultimate Warrior Fan…
Saturday night is BMO Ultimate CHL Fan Appreciation night when the Warriors take on the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Fans are being encouraged to wear their Warrior colours, paint their faces, and anything else that could make them stand out in the crowd. Three people will then be selected to participate in a trivia contest during the second intermission.
The winner will receive an autographed jersey with a BMO Ultimate Fan crest, and a $50 prepaid MasterCard. They will also be entered into the grand prize draw which is a trip for two to the 2013 MasterCard Memorial cup in Saskatoon.