It’s felt like a long time since fans have been in their seats at Mosaic Place cheering on the Moose Jaw Warriors. The last time the team suited up for game action was Monday November 12th, the Warriors closed out a busy three game in four day schedule with a 4-1 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Since then the team has been practicing during the day and resting any bumps and bruises at night. “It’s pretty tough practicing for a full week, especially with Coach Stothers who works us hard. At least we’ll be well conditioned for the week coming up, it should help us with the road trip coming up,” said sophomore forward Tanner Eberle.
“With having eight practice days in a row you can get tired of practicing and getting skated so much,” Eberle added. “I think it’s important that we stay tight and keep our passes crisp as we get ready for the week.”
“We had a lot of team bonding and it went well. We worked hard in practices and worked on our power play and stuff like that,” said 17 year old defenceman Braiden Doucette. “You need to work on your special teams, it’s hard when you play every other night and you don’t get a lot of time to work on it, a week off didn’t hurt us.”
The Warriors return Wednesday with the tough task of knocking off the East Division leading Prince Albert Raiders who are 7-3 in their last ten games. “The thing I find most about the Raiders is how good they are at chipping the pucks out and chasing after them,” said Eberle. “We have to have a good high guy and make sure we get the guys blowing the zone and taking the puck back the other way.”
“The biggest thing (against the Raiders for us) is beating their defence up ice, as soon as they get over the blue line they like to slow it down and wait for their D-Men to jump into the play,” Eberle went on to say. “We have to make sure we’re coming back with our sticks in lane.”
After sitting out the last two games, Doucette is anxious for a return to the lineup. “You want to be in the lineup as much as you can, when you sit out you have to come back refocused and ready to go.”
“They like to have a fast rush, their defence like to join into the rush. We have to have a good F3 and make sure that we come back hard,” said Doucette when talking about slowing down Prince Albert, who’s 75 goals for is tied for the division lead.
Tonight is the fifth meeting of the season between the Warriors and Raiders, and the second in Moose Jaw. The Warriors are 2-2 against Prince Albert; they won their only meeting in Moose Jaw 9-0 back on October 13th.
Sam Fioretti leads the Warriors with five goals and eight points against the Raiders; Morgan Rielly has seven assists; Justin Kirsch and Brayden Point have three goals and five points each; Travis Brown has one goal and four points; Tanner Eberle has three assists; Carter Hansen and Andrew Johnson have two points each; Justin Paulic is 1-0 with a 2.00gaa and .944sv%; Daniel Wapple is 1-2 with a 3.33gaa and .895sv%.
Dakota Conroy and Mike Winther lead the Raiders with three goals and five points each against the Warriors; Leon Draisaitl has four assists; Mark McNeill and Josh Morrissey have one goal and three points each; Harrison Ruopp has three assists; Chance Braid, Riley Guenther, and Evan Morden have two assists each; Luke Siemens is 2-1 with a 2.86gaa and .897sv%; Andy Desautels is 0-1 with a 5.22gaa and .849sv%.
Reminder to fans that tonight’s game against Prince Albert is the first “Rain Check” night of the season. Unused regular season tickets can be brought to the Mosaic Place Box Office and for $5 they will be turned into game tickets for this game.
Join James Gallo, Derek Kletzel, and Marc Smith for all the action tonight on Country 100 starting with the PreGame Show at 6:40pm. The team will load the bus Thursday morning and then head out on a 14 day seven game road trip that will take them through the Central and BC Divisions.
Other Warrior notes
– Defenceman Travis Brown will miss Wednesday’s game; he was issued a two game suspension for a checking to the head major and game misconduct November 12th against Lethbridge.
– Warrior 16 year olds Brayden Point, Miles Warkentine, and Josh Uhrich will not be with the team when play resumes after the Christmas break. All three will take part in the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in Quebec; Point will play for Team Pacific while Uhrich and Warkentine are with Team West.
– The Warriors parted ways with import rookie Nikita Zagryadskiy earlier this week. The 17 year old Russian was released by the team Monday afternoon; he appeared in three games and had seven penalty minutes.
– Kendall McFaull has two assists in the last two games
– Joel Edmundson has one goal and one point in the last 11 games
– Morgan Rielly is pointless in the last three games; he has one assist in the last six
– Travis Brown is pointless in the last two games; he has two points in the last five
– Kirk Johnson scored his first WHL goal November 10th against Kootenay
– Sam Fioretti has two goals and four points in the last six games
– Justin Kirsch has four goals and five points in the last seven games
– Carter Hansen has one goal in the last nine games
– Andrew Johnson has two goals and four points in the last six games
– Jordan Messier has one point in the last seven games
– Brayden Point has one point in the last six games
– Tanner Eberle has two assists in the last three games
– Bryson Gore has a goal and two points in the last two games
– Jordan Wyton has two assists in the last five games
– Brandon Potomak scored his first WHL goal November 10th against Kootenay
– Miles Warkentine hasn’t played since suffering an injury October 13th against Prince Albert