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Warriors impressive in commanding win over Kootenay

Almeida has four-point night, Salmond loses shutout bid late in 5-1 win over Ice

When you’re playing in the Western Hockey League in the latter part of the season, it’s always dangerous facing teams far behind you in the standings – it’s too easy to take a shift or even a period off at times, and that little bit of complacency can lead to all sorts of trouble.

The Moose Jaw Warriors wanted no part of that in the Kootenay Ice’s final visit to Mosaic Place on Sunday afternoon, as they rolled to a commanding 5-1 victory.

Warriors goaltender Brodan Salmond lost his shutout bid with 7:42 left in the game, marking yet another contest where he’s come close to a clean sheet, only to see a late goal ruin his bid.

Doesn’t matter, says the 20-year-old veteran backstop. As long as the team wins, that’s the most important thing.

“I’ll take the win, I don’t really care about the shutout even though it would have been nice to get it,” Salmond said. “It’s been nice the last few games, the guys have been really keeping the shots down and keeping the play to the outside… these are games we should win, we’re on a roll right now and we’ll try and keep it going.”

The Warriors improved to 34-16-6-2 on the season and now sit eight points back of Saskatoon for second in the East Division and 11 points up on Brandon for third place. Kootenay fell to 11-39-7-3 as they play out the string before packing up and moving from Cranbrook to Winnipeg for the 2019-20 season.

Tristin Langan scored his 45th goal of the season while Justin Almeida scored once and added three assists. Brayden Tracey and Tate Popple each had a goal and an assist; Keenan Taphorn opened scoring for the Warriors in the first.

Moose Jaw led 2-0 after one and 3-0 through two.

Owen Pederson scored the lone Kootenay goal.

Salmond made 26 saves in taking his 18th win of the season, the Warriors fired 31 at Kootenay’s Curtis Meger.

Moose Jaw’s power play continued to fire on all cylinders, going 3-for-5 and moving into the top spot in the WHL at 28.8 per cent.

The Warriors finished their three games in three nights set with three wins – including a 4-2 victory over Swift Current and 5-2 win over Regina -- with their next action Tuesday when they host the Red Deer Rebels (7 p.m., Mosaic Place).

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