One night after taking a 5-2 win over the Swift Current Broncos on the road, the rematch at Mosaic Place was almost completely opposite as it was the Broncos who would take a 3-0 lead out of the first period and hold off any response the Warriors had along the way. The end result was a 6-3 Swift Current victory that once again left head coach Mark O’Leary looking for a better start from his troops.
“I think any time you go down that many goals early on, you start chasing the game and pressing and making taking a little more risk than you should, especially that early in the game,” O’Leary said. “It’s one thing if you’re down by a goal or two late in the game and have to take chances, but to play that way early on, it’s a tough way to play.
“I don’t think we quit, we had our share of chances, but you can’t dig yourself a hole like that and expect to get out of it.”
Former Warriors forward and current Broncos captain Jaxan Kaluski opened scoring only 2:39 into the game and added his second on the power play at the 9:52 mark. Three minutes later D-Jay Jerome scored to pick up his third point of the period, and just like that it was 3-0 Swift Current after the opening frame.
Martin Lang got one back for the Warriors 2:32 into the second, but the goal came with a price – captain Owen Hardy was hit from behind on the play, suffered an upper body injury and didn’t return to the game.
It was the latest injury hit for the young squad, as they already had five players scratched due to injury, including overage defenceman Carson Sass and top NHL rearguard prospect Daemon Hunt.
“That’s just another circumstance, these things happen,” O’Leary said. “You look up and down this league, teams have lost man games to guys they don’t want to. Nobody is going to listen to us whining so we might as well just grit our teeth and go at it. It’s a good opportunity for some younger guys tomorrow in Winnipeg and we’ll be ready.”
The rest of the contest’s goals came in the third period, with Ryder Korczak scoring a pair to go along with Kaluski finishing off his hat trick and with single markers from Eric Houk and Sergei Alkhimov.
“It was tough, we dug ourselves a hole and they got two power play goals right away and it’s tough to come back from that,” Korczak said. “But we were playing fast, we were getting shots on net and that’s what we have to take into Winnipeg. We just forget about this one and come out hard [today].”
Lang also finished the game with two assists.
Boston Bilous got the start for the Warriors and turned aside 27 shots, Isaac Poulter had 32 saves for Swift Current.
The Warriors fell to 12-29-2-0 with the loss and sit two points ahead of the last place Broncos, who became the final team in the WHL to hit double digits in wins.
The Tribe were right back on the highway after the game – so quickly that the team actually had catering delivered to the dressing room for the post-game meal – and are in Winnipeg to face the Ice tonight. Next home action will be Friday, Jan, 31 when they take on the Saskatoon Blades. Game time is 7 p.m.