Slow starts and turnovers have buried the Moose Jaw Warriors so far on their US Division road trip as they've lost all four games – and five straight overall.
The Warriors committed some costly turnovers on Wednesday night in Tri-City and it led to them falling behind 2-0 in the first period, a deficit that they could never recover from.
Going into Spokane on Friday night, limiting their turnovers will be key for the Warriors against an opportunistic Chiefs team.
“Spokane is a really good team, they're really good in transition, they've got a lot of highly skilled forwards, so we've definitely got to watch our turnovers,” said forward Jack Rodewald.
Among those skilled forwards for the Chiefs is WHL leading scorer Mitch Holmberg. The 20-year-old is as dangerous as they come in the WHL this season, posting 42 goals and 84 points in 46 games so far this year. He has been held pointless in his last four games however – the longest stretch of the season by far.
“We've just got to take away his time and space,” said Rodewald on how they plan on controlling Holmberg. “If you give him room, he's going to make a nice play and if you give him a lane to the net, he's going to take it there. It's about just playing hard on him.”
Although the Warriors are sitting winless in the first four games of their six-game road trip, they've held their own against some tough US Division teams. Their main problem has been their slow starts, which has gotten them behind the eight-ball in each game and unable to fight their way back.
“That seems to be the theme of our road trip so far,” said Rodewald. “We're playing a good second half of the game and the first half is really hurting us.
“I wouldn't really blame it on (having to get use to their opponents). I think it's more of something inside our locker room, just getting mentally prepared and getting ready for the game.”
Posting a 0-2-0-2 record on the road trip, the Warriors will be hoping to finish the trek strong during their final two games this weekend against Spokane and Kootenay. Rodewald said they've definitely been tested so far against the tough competition.
“They're big, they're really good skaters down here and I think it's about just getting pucks behind them and putting it into a place that you know you can get to. It's just about not letting them get their stick on your stick,” said Rodewald.
The Warriors are in Spokane on Friday night and then finish up the road trip in Cranbrook against the Ice on Saturday. Voice of the Warriors, James Gallo will have all the action both nights on Country 100, the Pre-Game Show is on the air at 8:40pm on Friday.