The Moose Jaw Warriors did everything they could to try and take a win off the Winnipeg Ice in Winnipeg on Saturday night, but ended up settling for a single point.
Matthew Savoie scored the lone goal in the shootout, spoiling a two-goal comeback by the Warriors against the CHL’s top-ranked team, and the Ice would take a 3-2 victory in Western Hockey League action.
Moose Jaw improved to 28-14-0-3 and with only the single point have fallen a point back of the Saskatoon Blades for third in the Eastern Conference, with the Blades now having two games in hand.
Both teams had their share of scoring chances in the first nine minutes, with Connor Ungar making the biggest save of the first half of the opening period. Zach Benson went in on a partial breakaway with 8:30 gone, but Logan Dowhaniuk would just get back in time to knock Benson off stride, and Ungar would made the stick save to keep it a scoreless game.
A couple minutes later, Owen Pederson went in on a partial break, but Ungar got a shoulder on the shot for his second big save of the period.
Pederson got another chance with six minutes to play, and this time it would work out in the Ice veteran’s favour. Pederson stole the puck behind the net and slipped home a wraparound past Ungar for the game’s first goal.
It was Ice goaltender Daniel Hauser’s turn to make big saves in the final minutes of the period, first making a stop from a shot in the high slot from Ryder Korczak and then just getting a shoulder on a Max Wanner open shot from in close.
The Warriors had a ton of pressure to start the second period, and it would all result in Moose Jaw receiving the first power play of the game with nine minutes gone in the frame. Winnipeg would have the lone good scoring chance, though, when Connor Geekie and Benson went in on a two-on-one as the penalty expired, but Ungar would again make the save.
Things didn’t change much after the penalty expired, as the Warriors continued to roll and cycle in the Winnipeg zone, spending nearly two full minutes in the Ice zone around the nine minute mark.
For all that pressure, though, Winnipeg would extend their lead with just under a minute to play in the frame. Zach Benson found the puck in a scramble and put a shot home to give Winnipeg a 2-0 edge.
The second period turned into the third period, but nothing changed when it came to control of the game, and the Warriors would finally break through.
After another extended run of zone in the Winnipeg end, Atley Calvert picked up the rebound off an Eric Alarie point shot and would put home his 26th goal of the year. Korczak also picked up an assist, extending the point streak for all three players to six games. The goal came 2:30 into the period.
A double minor to Ice forward Easton Armstrong with 10:51 to play in the period gave the Warriors a glorious chance to tie the game, and while they wouldn’t be able to get the job done there, they would seven minutes later.
Jagger Firkus threw a puck in front from deep in the Winnipeg zone, and Martin Rysavy would be in the right spot to tuck the puck home and make it a 2-2 game.
Overtime would solve nothing -- thanks to a couple of big saves by Ungar and Hauser in the final 1:30 of extra time -- and the two teams would go to the shootout.
There, Savoie scored on the second shot and the Warriors were once again shut out -- running their shootout goalless run to 10 straight -- and Winnipeg had their win.
Unger faced 26 shots in the Warriors’ net, while Hauser had 29 saves at the other end of the ice, including 16 in the third period alone where the Warriors outshot Winnipeg 16-4.
The Warriors and Winnipeg are right back at it on Sunday in Winnipeg, with puck drop at 5 p.m. Next home action is Friday when they host the Brandon Wheat Kings. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.