Skip to content

Warriors get the job done against Swift Current

Struggling Broncos show fight but Tribe too much in 3-1 win
It hasn’t taken the newest member of the Moose Jaw Warriors blueline corps long to have an affect on the team.

The Warriors added import rearguard Libor Zabransky in a trade with the Saskatoon Blades last week, and the 19-year-old Czech Republic product has quickly brought a stabilizing influence to the squad while playing on the team’s top pairing alongside Daemon Hunt.

That included Saturday night, where Zabransky scored the eventual game winner in a 3-1 win over the struggling Swift Current Broncos at Mosaic Place.

The win was the second in as many nights for the Tribe and while not perfect, was still a crucial two points in what’s shaping up to be an exceptionally tight run in the Eastern Conference standings.

“It was a tough game, especially against teams like this,” Zabransky said. “They’re battling and they’re playing hard and if you’re not ready they’ll give it to you. We’re just happy we won and had a good weekend here.”

Zabrasky’s goal came with 4:55 remaining in the second period and was his second of the season and sixth of his 125 game WHL career.

While he has only two games under his belt in a Tribe uniform, Zabransky has been impressed with what he’s seen in Moose Jaw so far.

“Everything is perfect here,” he said. “My teammates are awesome, the coaching staff is good and I’m really happy here… it’s a great start and now we have a week of practice and we have to get ready for another big weekend.”

Warriors head coach Tim Hunter would have liked to have seen his charges get off to a better start in the contest, but in the end, picking up the win against a team that hasn’t had the best of starts to the WHL campaign was the main goal.

“We had a slow start, they didn’t play last night and they were a little fresher than us at the beginning, and our guys found their way into the game and played well in the second period,” Hunter said, referring to the Broncos’ contest in Regina Friday night that was cancelled when a brine line under the ice was punctured installing the net pegs.

“They’re a desperate team, they only have a few wins and haven’t scored many goals. So they’ve made some changes to their roster to try and pick up some wins…Then we’re banged up and short men, Evanoff played well and we were able to find the win.”

Brayden Tracey got things started at the 6:11 mark of the second period, grabbing a turnover all alone in front of the net and outwaiting Broncos goaltender Isaac Poulter before sliding a shot home.

Warriors SC Hunt actionWarriors defenceman Daemon Hunt takes down a Broncos attacker while Adam Evanoff makes the save.

After Zabransky gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead heading into the third, Chase Lacombe broke Adam Evanoff’s shutout bid 6:46 into the third.

It marked the third straight start where Evanoff had carried a shutout deep into the contest, and Lacombe’s goal was especially tough in that it was a shot from the point that found its way through all sorts of traffic in front of the net.

Evanoff would stop 26 shots on the night and now has a 1.67 goals against average with a .948 save percentage in four appearances. Both are the best in the WHL for any goaltender with more than 200 minutes played.

The Warriors improved to 9-7-1-0 on the season, moving three points clear of the Brandon Wheat Kings for the second Eastern Conference wild card playoff spot. The Broncos fell to 3-11-1-2.

The Warriors will now once again have a full week off before taking the ice in Swift Current next Saturday. While that might seem like a lot of time off in relation to games played, it’s all according to design: more practice means more development, and that’s even more important for a team with a lot of growth ahead of them.

“I think it’s great because we have a young team and that’s why the Western Hockey League went to the schedule with fewer week day games,” Hunter said, “Number one, they’re not big seller and number two, it’s more practice time to develop our players. We’re the best development league in North America and that gives us time to develop in practice and learn the game, then us as coaches get to teach and coach at the same time.”

Overtime… the Warriors made a pair of roster moves just before Saturday’s contest, as they traded defenceman Matthew Benson to Swift Current for a seventh-round draft pick in 2023. The team also released defenceman Drae Gardiner… “With nine defenceman following the trade for Zabransky, and wanted to get to seven, we had some tough decisions to make,” said Warriors general manager Alan Millar. “We thank Matt and Drae for their time with the hockey club and wish them the best moving forward.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks