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Warriors give Edmonton hard battle but fall short

Warriors take early lead, generate plenty of chances but fall 7-4 to Central Division leaders
warriors logo sweater
(file photo)
The Moose Jaw Warriors gave the Edmonton Oil Kings all they could handle for the vast majority of their Western Hockey League contest on Saturday night in Edmonton.

But a pair of breakdowns in the first and second periods would end up being the difference in a hard fought battle with the Central Division leaders.

The Oil Kings twice scored three goals in under three minutes and built a 7-4 lead through two periods before going on to win by that margin in Edmonton.

The loss means the Warriors finish with a 1-2 record on their Central Division road trip and drop to 11-12-1-1 on the season.

The Warriors opened scoring a little over a minute into the game, and it was a break that went their way for once -- defenceman Max Wanner took a shot from the point that went off the back boards and right back out front, catching Oil Kings goaltender Sebastian Cossa off guard and allowing Logan Doust to get off a shot that just trickled over the line.

That goal signaled the beginning of a long run of pressure for the Warriors in the Edmonton zone, and it paid off at the 9:13 mark when Wanner’s shot from the point was deflected by Alarie in front

Edmonton attempted a coach’s challenge on an off-side call on the goal, and as it was determined the call on the ice stood, the Warriors were awarded a power play. Moose Jaw was unable to score on the man advantage, and a minute after it ended, with 6:13 to play in the period, Graydon Gotaas scored the Oil Kings’ Teddy Bear Toss goal.

If you’ve seen footage of what happens when that goal is scored, you know what happened next. Thousands upon thousands of stuffed animals flowed from the 13,000-plus fans in Roger’s Centre, leading to a half hour delay as the bears, touques, mittens and everything in between were collected from the ice. 

The Warriors will be holding their own Salvation Army Teddy Bear Toss on Saturday, Dec. 11 against the Swift Current Broncos, and fans are asked to bring a new and unwrapped toy to the game to toss on the ice after the first goal. If possible, fans are asked to have their Toss items in plastic bags to keep them safe and protected.

The Oil Kings tied the game 35 seconds after the contest resumed, and it was an absolute highlight reel as Jake Neighbours pulled a Connor McDavid and skated through four Warriors before putting a shot from the top of the crease over Jackson Unger’s shoulder.

A little over a minute after that marker, Luke Prokop pinched in from the point and rifled a loose shot past to put Edmonton 3-2 with three goals in 2:17.

There things remained until nine minutes remained in the second, when Alarie tied things 3-3. Doust outduelled an Oil Kings defender behind the net and got a pass off to Alarie at the side of the net, and he’d make no mistake banking a shot off Cossa and home.

The tie didn’t last long, as Josh Williams finished off a slick passing play around the zone by taking a feed from Jakub Demek from behind the net into the slot and ripping a quick shot past Unger at 10:59.

Jagger Firkus tied the game on a great individual effort with 5:14 to play in the period, splitting the defenceman and breaking in on a partial breakaway on Cossa before lifting a nifty little backhand blocker side.

Edmonton looked to have retaken the lead seconds later, but the goal was called back on goaltender interference. A minute after that incident, they scored for real, this time with Dawson Seitz tipping a point shot past Unger.
The Oil Kings weren’t done there.

Demek finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play on the man advantage to give Edmonton a 6-4 lead with 2:21 to play in the frame and Neighbours scored on a goalmouth scramble 1:04 later for a string of three goals in 1:53 and a 7-4 lead.

That would mark the end of the offence in the contest, as neither team scored in the final frame.

Unger would face 44 shots on the night in taking the loss, while the Warriors fired 30 shots at Cossa.

The Warriors are back in action on Wednesday when they host the Brandon Wheat Kings. Game time is 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place.