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Warriors can't hold off Edmonton, fall in shootout

Oil Kings score twice in third period, score only goal of shootout on way to 4-3 win at Mosaic Place.
At first glance, the Western Hockey League contest between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night looked to be a hard mismatch,

An Oil Kings team with an 11-3-2-1 record against the 6-8-0-0 Warriors. A team with all sorts of luck on their side throughout the season against a crew that couldn’t buy a break with Bill Gates' money.

But as has been the case so many games this season, regardless of the opponent, the Warriors were in the thick of things -- leading 1-0 after the first and 3-1 through two.

In the end, Edmonton would score two third period goals and Simon Kubicek scored the only goal of the shootout as the Oil Kings took a 4-3 victory at Mosaic Place.

“We’ve seen it before, we were up 4-1 against Winnipeg a couple weeks ago and we just can’t seem to close out games,” said Warriors captain Daemon Hunt. “We have to focus on that, really work on the details in the third period. Good teams capitalize on their chances and that’s what they did, but i think we really competed, it was just the mistakes that cost us tonight.”

The Warriors were able to get on the board first when Brayden Yager found the rebound in the crease off a Hunt point shot and batted the loose puck past Oil Kings starter Kolby Hay.

The goal at 4:22 of the opening frame was part of a fast-paced start to the contest that saw Edmonton get a handful of chances before the Warriors were able to turn the tide and score on one of their first sustained runs of zone time.

It was also the kind of marker that Hunt would like to see more of -- especially when one looks at how Edmonton scored their goals in the third.

“They weren’t pretty at all, they just capitalized on our mistakes and put it in the back of the net,” he said. “That’s what we need to do eventually, I don’t think we do a good enough job of that… just crash the paint and put pucks on net and good things happen. You see tonight with Yager’s first goal, I put it on net and the puck went right to him. So having a shooting mentality is key.”

Martin Rysavy made it 2-0 for the Warriors 3:27 into the second when he found a loose puck at the side of the net on the power play during a goalmouth scramble and knocked it home.

Jaylen Luypen got Edmonton back within one midway through the period, but Hunt restored he two goal lead just over two minutes later when his shot from the point deflected off an Oil Kings defender in front and past Hay.

Edmonton didn’t receive their first power play until 2:16 remained in the second period and Carter Souch made the Warriors pay, picking up a failed clearing attempt in the slot and beating Tetachuk low blocker side.

The Oil Kings then tied the game shortly after the Warrriors’ sixth man advantage of the game expired, with a massive breakdownin the defensive zone leading to chance after chance for Edmonton before Jacob Boucher tipped a shot in front and home. Former Moose Jaw Minor Hockey and Prairie Hockey Academy standout Ethan Peters drew an assist on the tying goal.

The Warriors’ inability to catch a break through the early part of the season reared it’s head twice in a matter of minutes in the game’s later stages, as first Ryder Korczak hit the crossbar on a shot from the right faceoff circle and moments later Atley Calvert appeared to score the go-ahead goal, only to have it called back due to the net being knocked off it’s moorings.

The remainder of the period was uneventful, and overtime solved nothing, leading to what would be the Warriors’ first shootout of the season. There, both goaltender made big saves -- including a spectacular toe save by Tetachuk on Jake Neighbours -- but only Kubiceck would be able to find twice.

Moose Jaw finished the game 1-for-6 on the power play, Edmonton’s only chance resulted in Souch’s goal.

The single point saw the Warriors improve to 6-8-0-1 and move into a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Edmonton is now 12-3-2-1 and sit second in the Conference.

The Warriors are back in action Sunday night, with a special start time of 4 p.m. at Mosaic Place. Fans can skate with the team after the contest, just remember to bring skates and a helmet for your little one.