The opening weekend of the regular season had some positives and negatives for the Moose Jaw Warriors as they split their two games against the Regina Pats.
One big positive coming out of the weekend was the fact that the team would have a week to work on what they were able to do well and what didn't work for them in those two games.
So far this week, the Warriors have been on the ice at Mosaic Place for two hours each afternoon working on the areas of their game that needed to be corrected at this early point in the season.
“There's lots of things we can work on, some conditioning, some work ethic and some compete, and we've done a lot of that,” said head coach Tim Hunter following Wednesday's practice.
Coming out of the first two games, Hunter felt his team did a lot of things right against the Pats, but didn't like the compete level that they showed in their 3-2 overtime loss on Saturday in the Queen City.
“They were good for the most part, but the game in Regina wasn't as good as it should have been after winning our first game. We had a bit of a let down, Regina played really well and they're a good team,” said Hunter.
“We learned from watching some of the things that Regina did, having the foot on the gas when the puck was turned over and that's what we're trying to do, so we've just got to take out the bad, massage the good and turn it into even better things moving forward.”
17-year-old forward Noah Gregor agreed that their compete level was one area of their game that needed to be improved on coming out of the weekend.
“In our second game in Regina, we got out worked,” he said. “Right now though, we're moving the puck well, we're making some nice plays, so we'll try to build on that coming into this weekend.”
The Warriors will host the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday at Mosaic Place.
Point on His Way Back
The Warriors received a big boost on Wednesday when news broke that captain Brayden Point had been re-assigned by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The news came out while the team was on the ice and Gregor was pretty happy to hear that they'll have their captain back for Saturday's game.
“I haven't heard that yet, but that's great,” he said. “He's obviously a huge addition to our team and will help our team a lot coming back here.”
With Point back in the Warriors' lineup for the weekend, the team will be able to spread their scoring depth out among the forward group.
“We're going to try to have some depth and not have all the scoring on one line,” said Hunter. “We're going to look at chemistry, we have a lot of guys that play centre, so we're going to have to use some of them on the wing and that will be part of it as well.
“Point is definitely a difference maker, we're excited to have him back and he's going to be a big addition for sure. We've been missing him in our lineup, so it will be nice to be able to play with our lines, see who's going to play with Pointer and how things will shake out.”
The Warriors expect Point to join the team for practice on Friday and be back in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Calgary Hitmen.
Shynkaruk Suspended... Warriors forward Jesse Shynkaruk will miss the next three games after receiving a suspension for his hit from behind on Regina defenceman James Hilsendager during Saturday's game. Shynkaruk was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit. He'll be eligible to return next Saturday against Kootenay.