A late goal from Justin Almeida lifted the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-1 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, improving their road trip record to 2-2 with three games remaining.
Almeida scored with 1:15 remaining in the game to give the Warriors the win, while Tanner Jeannot picked up a goal and two points to pace Moose Jaw’s attack.
The teams established a quick pace in the first period. Moose Jaw worked below the Seattle goal line and did a good job pushing the puck to the net, but were unable to jam it in. Seattle on the other hand fed their defenceman for shots and put traffic in front of the net.
Moose Jaw had two and a half power plays in the first period and Seattle had one man advantage, both teams used their power plays to put pucks on net, but couldn’t find a goal as goalies Brody Willms and Liam Hughes were sharp, combining for 25 saves to keep the game scoreless after the opening period.
Five minutes into the second period the Warriors got on to the scoreboard as rookie defenceman Matthew Benson made a nice first pass from the Moose Jaw zone to Branden Klatt on the left side of the neutral zone. Klatt came across the Seattle line and feathered the puck to Jeannot streaking through the middle of the ice where he finished the rush with his fourth goal of the season, which was also his 100th WHL career point.
The lead was short-lived as Seattle responded three minutes when a Warriors defenceman turned the puck over to Seattle on top of the right circle where they put a shot on net, the puck bounced around the Moose Jaw crease and eventually came to Sami Moilanen, who knocked in a game-tying goal.
There was plenty of momentum shifts throughout the third period as the teams battled for the go-ahead goal.
Moose Jaw outshot the Thunderbirds 15-7 in the final period and with just over a minute to go that broke the 1-1 tie.
Brayden Burke protected the puck from the Thunderbirds on the right wall and fed Dmitri Zaitsev at the blue-line for a shot, Hughes wasn’t able to control the rebound, which allowed Almeida to knock in the eventual game winner.
Seattle pulled their goalie in the final moments in search of a game-tying goal, but instead the Warriors buckled down inside their zone and finished the game with an empty net goal from Noah Gregor.
Willms made 31 saves in the 3-1 win, Moose Jaw was 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Moose Jaw will spend Sunday off in Everett to enjoy the Pacific Northwest and on Monday they’ll travel to Portland where they’ll take on the Winterhawks on Tuesday.