After a couple of tough losses to the Prince Albert Mintos, a bout with team-wide illness that forced a game postponement and nearly a month removed from their last home game, the Moose Jaw WINMAR Warriors are back in the win column.
And in style, at that.
The Warriors opened a two-game set with the Estevan Great North Bears at the Moose Jaw Events Centre with a 7-0 victory on Saturday night before following up with a 7-3 victory in the rematch Sunday afternoon.
As a result, the Warriors are now 12-9-0-0 and after starting the weekend in eighth place have moved up to a tie for fifth, a point back of the Bears for fourth and two out of third.
“It was good, after what we went through last weekend I thought our guys came back and did a really good job this weekend,” said Warriors head coach Trevor Weisgerber, whose crew was forced to postpone their game on Nov. 28 against Saskatoon due to more than half their team being ill. “The guys stuck with it in both games and beared down on our chances and came away with four points.”
It was as good a return to form as the Warriors could have hoped for in their opening game, as they took a 3-0 lead out of the first period and led 6-0 through two on their way to one of their most impressive performances of the season.
Warriors goaltender Luke McKechnie was the beneficiary, as he turned aside all 37 shots he faced to earn the shutout.
“In games like that, you want to make sure you’re doing the right things and playing the game the right way,” Weisgerber said. “You don’t want to let it get away where guys are getting goal-hungry and things like that, it’s more making sure you’re doing a great job defensively and playing good hockey after that.”
Jonah Pinel led the offence with a goal and three points while Wade Franks, Jake Briltz and Dylan Duzan each had a goal and an assist to go along with single markers from Bryce Boughen, Chase Petersen and Keaton Lesperance. Kanyan Unger picked up a pair of helpers.
Less than a day later, the offence was right back at it, taking a 2-0 lead out of the first period and staking themselves to a 6-1 lead through two.
Briltz had two goals and three points while Unger added a goal and an assist to go along with markers from Duzan, Boughen, Wade Franks and Charlie Nameth. Ryan Bain had 31 saves to earn the win.
All in all, as good a weekend as the Warriors could have hoped for.
“It’s nice that we’re putting the puck in the net, and giving up three goals is just as nice,” Weisgerber said. “The two games prior we gave up a bunch and knew we needed to do better in our own zone. We changed a few things up so it was nice to work on that stuff this weekend and do a good job of that.”
The WINMAR Warriors are back in action on Tuesday, Dec. 5 when they travel to Saskatoon to face the 10-3-2-0 Saskatoon Blazers, who have as many as 11 games in hand on some opponents. Next home action is Friday, Dec. 8 against the Warman Wildcats. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.