Maybe it was how well things had gone for the Moose Jaw Warriors against the Winnipeg Ice in the first period.
Maybe it was the Ice finding their legs after not playing a Western Hockey League game in two weeks.
Whatever it was, once Winnipeg got on a roll in the meeting between the two teams on Saturday night at Mosaic Place, they were going to be tough to stop. And that’s exactly what they did in the second period, scoring four times on their way to taking a 5-1 victory.
The Warriors fell to 17-15-3-1 with the loss and are now two points back of the Saskatoon Blades for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and tied with the Brandon Wheat Kings for fifth.
“It was hard in the first period, and we kind of got loose in the second period, and when you get loose against that team, they fill the net,” Warriors forward Atley Calvert told James Gallo on the Ultimate Fan Zone post-game show. “I thought they just found another gear in the second period and we fell out of our structure a bit.”
Calvert scored the Warriors’ lone goal at the 9:03 mark of the opening frame and was the product of his usual hard work. With Cade Hayes battling in front of the net, Calvert came out of the corner and went hard to the crease, out-duelling a host of Winnipeg defenders around the goal and putting the puck past Ice goaltender Gage Alexander.
The period ended up being a back-and-forth battle much of the way, and while Winnipeg used a pair of power plays to ramp up the shot clock, it wasn’t until 2:05 remained in the frame that they’d hit the scoresheet, with Carson Lambos doing the honours.
That set the stage for the second frame, with the Ice taking complete control of the game by creating odd-man rushes, offensive zone turnovers and just about anything good that can happen for a team on a roll with the puck.
Matthew Savoie, Skyler Bruce, Jakin Smallwood and Lambos all scored before the period was out, and Winnipeg had their four-goal lead.
“All the mistakes we made ended up in the back of our net, so we’ll shore those up and have a fresh mindset going into Regina (today),” Calvert said.
Carl Tetachuk turned aside 26 shots in 40 minutes of work in goal for the Warriors, while Jackson Unger stopped all 18 shots he face in relief. Alexander had 25 stops for the Ice.
Winnipeg improved to 28-5-2-0 and is currently in first place overall in the WHL.
The Warriors are back in action Sunday when they travel to Regina to face the Pats. Game time is 4 p.m. from the Brandt Centre.