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Winnipeg dominates again with shutout win over Warriors in Game 2

Ice score three times before game is 10 minutes old, go on to 7-0 victory in Winnipeg, series reverts to Moose Jaw on Tuesday night
warriors logo sweater
(file photo)

The Winnipeg Ice appear to be playing at another level compared to the vast majority of the Western Hockey League at this point.

And the Moose Jaw Warriors haven't offered much resistance through the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinal, allowing 13 goals and scoring only once through the first two games.

Despite seeing the Warriors get off to a better start, the Ice scored three times before Game 2 was 10 minutes old on Saturday night and would go on to a 7-0 win at the Wayne Fleming Arena in Winnipeg.

Combined with Winnipeg’s 6-1 win in Game 1 on Friday, the Warriors will be down two-games-to-none when the series reverts back to Moose Jaw on Tuesday.

Even with the tough loss, coach Mark O’Leary felt his crew put in a better performance than the night prior, even though the score was less flattering.

“I thought there was actually a whole lot of good tonight,” he said. “I really liked our start. After taking it in the teeth last night I felt our response was what we would expect from this group. I thought we came out of the gates flying but after that first goal, it seemed like anything that could go wrong went wrong. I don’t think it felt like a 7-0 game at the end of the day and we deserved a better fate.”

Winnipeg for the most part did what Winnipeg does -- use their speed and transition game to create scoring opportunities while making the opposition pay for any breakdown in the defensive zone.

“They’re a really great team so when they get opportunities, they know how to score,” O’Leary said. “But every five shots they scored a goal tonight, and to only give up 34 shots to that team is good and gives us a chance. We just can’t give up seven goals and expect to win. They’re a good team, yes, but they’re also beatable.”

Warriors goaltender Carl Tetachuk has made more than his share of heroic stops in the series so far, but was once again pulled in favour of Jackson Unger after allowing five goals on 21 shots by the midpoint of the second period.

“[Goaltenders] are no different than any other player in that we expect them to make certain saves and expect our players to make certain plays,” O’Leary said. “That’s what we have the next couple days to work on and get back to what we do.”

Jack Finley got things started for the Ice by beating his man to the outside on the rush and taking a shot from the bottom of the face-off circle that managed to elude Tetachuk, with the goal coming 2:47 into the contest,

Only 45 seconds later, Finley struck again, as the Ice broke in on a quick transition with Owen Pederson carrying the puck down the wing and finding Finley alone in front. The Winnipeg sniper had all day to tuck the puck in around Tetachuk and just like that, 2-0 Ice.

The Warriors then shot themselves in the foot with a pair of back-to-back penalties, giving Winnipeg a lengthy 5-on-3, and they’d make Moose Jaw pay yet again. Connor McClennon scored before the first penalty was out to make it a three-goal lead 9:40 into the proceedings.

Moose Jaw had a chance to get one back early in the second when the Ice took a late penalty in the first, but Winnipeg added insult to injury not only with an early goal in the period, but a shorthanded one at that.

Zach Benson got a shot off from the slot while killing the penalty, but the rebound went right to Matthew Savoie and his shot just snuck past a scrambling Tetachuk 1:12 into the frame.

Mikey Milne then scored a power play goal at the 6:07 mark, marking the end of the night for the Warriors netminder.

On the very next Moose Jaw power play, Benson was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway and he’d make no mistake, scoring at 9:02 for Winnipeg’s second goal of the game while on the penalty kill.

Chase Wheatcroft made it 7-0 and closed out scoring with 6:21 gone in the third, tipping a Benson pass to the front of the net past Unger.

Winnipeg netminder Daniel Hauser had a few big stops but overall a relatively pedestrian night, turning aside 27 shots to earn the shutout. Unger had 11 saves in his 33:53 of work.

The series now reverts back to Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, with Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 Wednesday. Puck drop for both games is at 7 p.m.

“Everybody plays better at home, and no different here,” O’Leary said. “The series really hasn’t started until someone loses at home, so we’ll get back at it on Tuesday and be ready to go in our own building and in front of our fans.”