Special teams had a huge impact Saturday night as the Moose Jaw Warriors and Calgary Hitmen combined for 19 power plays, five power play goals, and one shorthanded goal.
After the dust settled the Warriors skated away with a 6-3 win, improving their record to 2-0-1.
The visitors were able to take an early lead at the four minute mark of the opening frame. Calgary pressed on the fore-check and created problems for the Warriors on their clearing attempts which resulted in second opportunities. The Hitmen forced the puck towards the net where Chase Lang knocked in the game’s first goal.
Moose Jaw found themselves with a golden opportunity to get back in the game three minutes later when they found themselves on a 5-on-3 power play.
With three seconds remaining in the two-man advantage, the Tribe moved the puck quickly around the Calgary zone. Brett Howden slid the puck to Brayden Point at the left goal line, he was able to set up Noah Gregor on top of the crease where he scored his first of the season.
With the power play continuing the Warriors remained on the attack, 53 seconds later Howden set up Point on top of the Calgary crease where he lifted the puck over goalie Kyle Dumba for his first of the year.
Calgary fought back later in the period and leaned on their power play for the equalizer. With under ninety seconds left in the frame and two second left on their power play, the Hitmen pushed the puck to the Warriors net where Terrell Draude lifted it over the pad of Zach Sawchenko to even the game at two heading in to the intermission.
Special teams was in the forefront in the second period as the Warriors received seven power play opportunities.
At 11:34, Noah Gregor controlled the puck behind the net and set up Dryden Hunt in the slot where he rifled a shot to the back of the net to break the tie.
Less than a minute later and with the teams at even strength, the Warriors crashed the Calgary net where Jayden Halbgewachs was able to notch his first of the season to make it a two-goal game.
On a two-man advantage two minutes later, Noah Gregor handled the puck at the bottom of the Calgary left circle. Gregor looked to pass but then snapped a shot short-side that beat Dumba to make it 5-2. Calgary didn’t fade away, 55 seconds later the tribe coughed the puck up to Radel Fazleev who drove in on a shorthanded breakaway where he scored to make it a 5-3 game going to the second intermission.
Six minutes in to the third period the teams found themselves playing four-on-four. Jiri Smejkal and Jayden Halbgewachs fought for the puck along the neutral zone boards. The duo was able to gain control of the puck and drive inside the Hitmen zone, eventually setting up a trailing Dallas Valentine where he scored his first of the season.
Moose Jaw was tested in the third period as they forced to kill of six penalties but they stood their ground and held on for the 6-3 win.
Noah Gregor led the team with two goals and three points, Brayden Point had a goal and three points, Jayden Halbgewachs had a goal and two points, Brett Howden and Ryan Gardiner had two assists each.
Zach Sawchenko made 27 saves.
Moose Jaw ended 4-for-11 on the power play and 7-for-8 on the penalty kill.
The Warriors are now off until Wednesday when they battle the Vancouver Giants at Mosaic Place. This will be the first and only meeting of the season between the clubs.
Western Nissan Warriors Hockey is live on Country 100 starting with the Westrum Lumber Timber Mart PreGame Show at 6:40pm.