The start of 2023 wasn’t how the Moose Jaw WINMAR AAA Warriors envisioned it, as they surrendered a late third-period goal and eventually lost 3-2 in overtime to the Warman Wildcats on Wednesday night.
An offensive zone turnover by Moose Jaw in the extra frame would allow Zane Normand to break loose all alone and would beat Ryan Hicks on the glove side for the game-winner, 1:30 into overtime.
Hicks in his 13th start of the season would take the loss and made 31 saves on 34 shots he faced.
Though it was a loss for the Warriors they did pick up a point and remain in 8th place in the league standings with 24 points – one point behind Prince Albert and now four points behind Warman for sixth place.
Liam Fitzpatrick and Max Threinen picked up the goals for the Warriors in the loss.
Warriors head coach, Trevor Weisgerber praised his team following Wednesday’s overtime loss.
“I thought we played well,” says Weisgerber. “We had a few good days of practice here and had a meeting this morning and had a good conversation with everyone and for the most part, we played well. Our biggest thing is the compete level and winning those 50/50 puck battles and must do a better job after Christmas. I thought we did a really good job but was unfortunate we gave up that goal late and turned the puck over in overtime.”
Following a long holiday break it was to be expected that both teams were going to work off some Christmas turkey, and that’s what happened as it was a slow start for both sides.
The first period was back and fourth with both teams sharing scoring opportunities, but both goalies stood up to the task.
Warman would strike first blood on Wednesday night in the first period. A hard forecheck by Kazden Mathies would allow him to center the puck for Carsyn Dyck and he would beat Hicks five-hole to make it 1-0 with 7:27 left in the frame.
That 1-0 lead would hold up at the end of 20 minutes, but Moose Jaw led in the shot department 18-10 after the first period.
Heading into the second period Warman would keep that 1-0 lead until late in the frame. Grady Hoffman would find Liam Fitzpatrick on the near side all alone and he would one-time it under the pad of Wildcats starter Luke Brunen to tie the game 1-1. Dylan Duzan would pick up the second assist on the goal.
After 40 minutes it was a 1-1 tie and the Warriors led 31-19 in the shot department.
The Warriors would take the lead 9:17 into the third period, as Max Threinen was left alone in the low slot and beat Brunen under the glove for his third of the season. Hoffman and Fitzpatrick added helpers on the goal.
It looked like that lead was going to hold up for the Warriors but the Wildcats had other plans. With just over two minutes left and their goalie pulled, a point shot by Jaxon Herchak hit a body in front of the net and beat Hicks over the shoulder to tie the game 2-2.
The game would need overtime and in the extra frame, Moose Jaw would give the puck up and Normand would seal the 3-2 win for Warman on a breakaway.
Brunen would stop 38 of 40 shots for his seventh win of the season.
Both Fitzpatrick and Hoffman led Moose Jaw on the scoresheet with two points apiece.
Neither team capitalized on the man advantage as Moose Jaw 0-for-3 and Warman 0-for-2.
The Warriors will be back at the Moose Jaw Events Centre on Saturday afternoon, as they host the Prince Albert Mintos for the final time this season. Things will get going on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.