A slow start in the first period on Saturday night by the Moose Jaw WINMAR AAA Warriors resulted in a 5-2 loss to the Estevan Bears.
Estevan would score three goals in the first period and never look back even though Moose Jaw would cut the lead to 3-2 early in the third period. The Bears were able to ice the game in the final frame to walk away with the win.
One of the positives on the night for the Warriors was both of their goals by Jake Briltz and Connor Miller were scored on the powerplay. They finished the night 2-for-7, while their penalty kill was a perfect 5-for-5.
The loss did hurt the Warriors in the standings, as they dropped out of a playoff spot into ninth place with a 9-13-0-3 record. The Yorkton Maulers were able to leapfrog them into eighth place.
As mentioned before the Bears were able to take advantage of a Warriors slow start.
Estevan would strike first 6:36 into the first period, as Blaze Gutzke would find the back of the net after an unlucky bounce would find him on the back door for an easy tap-in to make it 1-0.
With just over eight minutes left in the period, Josh Heistad would be given some room on the left side and he would use the Moose Jaw defender as a screen and fire it upstairs over the glove of Warriors starter Ryan Bain to make it 2-0.
The offensive explosion for the Bears continued just over four minutes later. On a Moose Jaw powerplay, they would give up a shorthanded two-on-one and Tristan Grohs was able to beat Bain's low glove and sneak it off the post and in to make it 3-0. That third goal ended the night for Bain and Ryan Hicks would come into the game in relief. Bain would make seven saves on ten shots in just over 15 minutes of action.
Though Moose Jaw was down 3-0 they didn’t quit and were able to get one of those Estevan goals back at the end of the first period. On the powerplay, Ryder Knutson was able to find Jake Briltz on the back door behind the Bears netminder for the easy tap-in to make it 3-1. That was Briltz’s 11th goal of the season.
After 20 minutes the Warriors would find themselves in a 3-1 hole, and behind in the shot department 12-9.
In the second period, though Moose Jaw would have three powerplays and several opportunities to cut into the lead they weren’t able to beat the Bears goalie Kayden Perron. Neither team was able to find twine in the second frame and the Bears remained ahead 3-1 after 40 minutes.
Shots after two periods were in favour of Moose Jaw 24-16.
The scoring continued in the third period for both sides. It started with the Warriors, as they were able to strike on the powerplay once again.
Connor Miller was able to come off the goal line on the left side and get to the top of the faceoff dot and pick a corner over the glove of Perron for his 12th of the season, to cut the Bear's lead to 3-2. Liam Fitzpatrick and Grady Hoffman picked up the assists on the goal.
The game would remain 3-2 until late in the third period, as the Bears would ice the game.
Estevan would break out on a two-on-one and Carter Tuplin would get the puck across to Kole Keen and he would bang it home to put the home side up 4-2 with 3:42 left in the game.
Keen would add an empty netter on a late Moose Jaw powerplay to make the final 5-2.
The final shots of goal were 31-29 for Moose Jaw.
Ryan Hicks stopped 18 of 19 in relief, while Perron stopped 29 shots in the big win.
The Warriors will wrap up this two-game series against the Bears and their 2022 schedule on Sunday at Affinity Place at 2:30 p.m.