The Moose Jaw Warriors don’t seem like the kind of team that would need a lesson on consistent effort during games, but Friday night in Western Hockey League action, they got one nonetheless.
Despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes of the game, the Warriors would give up three second period goals and go on to an 7-5 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings in Edmonton.
The loss dropped Moose Jaw’s record to 10-7-0-0, good enough for first in the parity-filled Eastern Conference pending other results on the night.
It didn’t take long for the Warriors to get on the board, all of 45 seconds. Some good puck movement in the Edmonton zone led to Atley Calvert finding Martin Rysavy in front of the Oil Kings’ net, and he’d tip the puck home five hole for the quick 1-0 lead.
A neutral zone turnover forced by Warriors defenceman Kalem Parker led to Moose Jaw’s second goal of the frame. Parker broke into the Edmonton zone and hit Pavel McKenzie with a pass back to the slot and McKenzie’s shot along the ice would make it 2-0 with six minutes gone in the period.
The Warriors wouldn’t be able to make the lead stick, with Skyler Bruce scoring back-to-back goals less than three minutes apart late in the first to tie things up.
Bruce got one back for Edmonton with 9:30 to play in the period, tapping home a backdoor pass from Marc Lajoie on the rush. Some sloppy play by the Warriors in their own zone led to the tying goal 2:49 later, and things were suddenly all square.
A string of Edmonton penalties swung the game in the Warriors’ favour to start the second period, and Brayden Yager would strike for Moose Jaw would strike on their third-straight opportunity 2:42 in.
The goals came fast and furious through the remainder of the frame, with the end result a 5-4 Edmonton lead through 40.
Rilen Kovacevic tied the game for the Oil Kings two minutes after Yager’s goal on a great individual effort before Cole Miller gave Edmonton their first lead at the 11:48 mark.
Firkus then tied the game with 2:25 to play in the period, but Marshall Finnie would restore the Edmonton lead 29 seconds later.
There things stood until 6:33 of the third, when the Warriors got into penalty trouble of their own. The second of back-to-back minors to open the period led to Lajoie scoring his second of the game to give Edmonton a two-goal lead.
The Warriors had a glorious opportunity to get back into it, when a slew-footing double-minor gave them an extended man advantage shortly after Edmonton’s sixth goal, but they’d manage only two shots on net.
A late Edmonton penalty gave the Warriors a chance to make things interesting, and Yager would score on the 6-on-4 to make it a one-goal game with 2:40 to play.
That would be as close as Moose Jaw would get, though, as Bruce finished off his hat trick with 1:50 remaining in the game with an empty-netter.
Jackson Unger had another busy night and faced 38 shots, while the Warriors had 27 shots on Kolby Hay.
Firkus’ finished with a goal and two assists and moved into the WHL scoring lead with 17 goals and 31 points in 14 games thus far.
The Warriors are back in action Sunday when they travel to Calgary to face the Hitmen. Game time is 7 p.m.