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Warriors struggle to find finish in loss to Hitmen

Moose Jaw generates plenty of chances but struggle to score in 2-1 loss in Calgary
Jagger Firkus had an assist on the Warriors' lone goal to take over sole possession of the WHL scoring lead.

The Moose Jaw Warriors haven’t been the most consistent team through the first month of the season, and that was once again on display on Sunday night against the Calgary Hitmen.

Despite having plenty of chances offensively, the Warriors were unable to find any finish and went on to drop a 2-1 decision in Western Hockey League action in Calgary.

The loss marked only the second time Moose Jaw has lost back-to-back games this season after falling 7-5 to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Friday night.

The Warriors are now 10-8-0-0 on the season and remain tied for third place in the Eastern Conference, two points out of first and two points out of eighth in the remarkably parity-filled league.

Moose Jaw had the majority of chances in the opening frame, including three hit posts -- the first of which by Jagger Firkus shorthanded early in the period led to a goal review before being waved off.

The Warriors also had a 43-second two-man advantage midway through the first but couldn’t generate much by way of scoring opportunities.

Calgary opened scoring with five minutes to play in the period when Sean Tschigerl had a shot deflect off the end boards right to a wide-open Dax Williams, who had nothing but net to shoot at for the 1-0 lead.

Neither team had much by way of regular control to start the second period, with the Warriors’ Brayden Schuurman having the best opportunity in the first 10 minutes when he drove to the goalline before cutting back across the crease and nearly tucking the puck home.

Jackson Unger had to be sharp at the other end of the ice immediately after, as Calgary had a handful of chances but couldn’t pad their lead. That ended up being the theme for the remainder of the frame as the Hitmen continued to press, and by the time things were said and done Calgary had poured 26 shots on the Warrior net in the second period alone.

The third period saw Moose Jaw generate a handful of chances while pressing for the tying goal, but as has been the case as of late, Calgary would get a crucial insurance marker.

Carson Wetsch scored off the rush when his long-range shot deflected off a defender's stick and past Unger glove side.

There things remained until 1:17 remained in the third period, when the Warriors took advantage of a late Calgary penalty to finally get on the board. Denton Mateychuk scored on a shot from the slot with Unger pulled for the 6-on-4 to make it a one-goal game.

That would be as close as the Warriors would get, though, and Calgary would come away with the 2-1 win.

It once again would have been a far different result if not for the play of Unger, who stopped 10 shots in the final frame and ended up facing 50 on the night. Ethan Buenaventura had 30 saves at the other end of the ice.
Firkus drew an assist on the play and now has 17 goals and 33 points for sole possession of the WHL scoring lead.

The Warriors are back in action on Thursday night when they host the Brandon Wheat Kings. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.

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