Winning on the road, consistently. That's the task for the Moose Jaw Warriors as they embark on their first road trip of the season this week.
The Warriors will be in Kootenay to face the Ice on Wednesday night before travelling to Calgary for a Thursday date with the Hitmen and then they wrap-up the trek in Edmonton against the Oil Kings on Saturday.
So far this season, the Tribe has shown that they can win at home, posting a 4-0-0-1 record at Mosaic Place, but the challenge will be for them to find success away from the comfort of home.
“It's time to win some games on the road, we didn't win enough games on the road last year and our goal this year is to be above .500 on the road,” said head coach Tim Hunter.
During the 2014-15 season, the Warriors had a .625 winning percentage on home ice – which was the third-best rate in the East Division and fifth-best in the conference – but they posted just a .333 rate away from Moose Jaw.
In order to make sure they're one of the top teams in the league, the Warriors are going to need to find success when they venture away from the Friendly City.
“We weren't very good on the road last year,” said forward Brett Howden. “We've been really good at home so far this year and we want to get a really big start on the road this week, so these are three big games for us.”
So what needs to happen in order for the Warriors to win on the road?
Well Hunter said that they need to make sure that they come ready to play a complete game each time out.
“To start off, we've got a better team, we've got more skill and more talent, and now we just need to add in the other elements that we didn't have last year on a consistent base, which is hard work and compete on the road and we're going to do that this year,” said Hunter.
Coming out of the gate strong will be key for the Warriors when they hit the ice at the Western Financial Place in Cranbrook on Wednesday night and for each road date this season.
“You've got to be energetic and you've got to finish checks, try to get them off their game because they're comfortable at home,” said Howden. “The biggest thing is coming out with a bang and we're going to try to do that.”
The Warriors and Ice are familiar with each other after squaring off last Saturday at Mosaic Place. Moose Jaw came away with a 4-3 win, but were pushed throughout the game by Kootenay.
Howden said they'll need to match the Ice's work ethic to ensure that they have success.
“They work hard, but we've got to have a much better game this time around, we came out flat footed and watched the play a little bit,” he said. “As the game went on we got better, but we've got to play a full sixty minutes.”
The Warriors and Ice face-off at 7:00pm on Wednesday night. Western Nissan Warriors Hockey on Country 100 will hit the air at 6:40pm with the Pre-Game Show.