The Warriors travel to Calgary after five days off from game action. The Warriors just finished a six game, 10 day road trip through the Western U.S. Division before finishing up in Kootenay. The Warriors earned five points on the road trip with wins in Everett, and Kootenay and a draw in Portland. Having played a majority of the first half of the 2011-12 season at home, the Warriors will be travelling a lot as the push to the playoffs continues.
The Warriors coming in having faced the Hitmen twice this season, both contests were in November and both were on Mosaic Place ice. The two games were completely different games. The first game the Warriors and Hitmen scored all four goals in the first period in a five minute span, then nothing until Quinton Howden ended the game about a minute and a half into the extra frame resulting in a 3-2 win. The Hitmen grabbed a two goal lead, but former Hitmen Cody Beach cut the lead to one on the powerplay. The Warriors tied the game when Sam Fioretti lit the lamp. The return match saw the teams score seven goals, with the Hitmen scoring four goals in the first two periods put the Warriors down early. Giving the Hitmen a split in the season series with a 5-2 win.
Tonight's contest is the first of two trips to Calgary for the Warriors. The Warriors are first in the East Division with a 25-12-4-1 record and 55 points. The Warriors sit in second place in Eastern Conference trailing the Oil Kings by six points. The Hitmen hold a 22-16-2-1 record and are fourth in the Central Division and seventh in the Conference. Both teams come into tonight`s contest having won their last game. The Warriors earned two points against the Ice last Saturday, while the Hitmen defeated the Hurricanes 6-3 on Sunday. In the last five years, the Hitmen hold a 13-5-1 record over the Warriors along with five home wins in eight games played. The Warriors parsimoniousness defense has given up 126 goals third lowest in the conference (and in the top ten overall) and will look to continue shutting down opposing teams' offensive attack.
Quinton Howden has recorded a pair of goals and added two assists for four points in two games versus the Hitmen thus far to be the leading scorer against Calgary. Former Hitmen Justin Kirsch likes playing his old team tallying three points (1G,2A) in two games against his old mates.
The Warriors are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. Moose Jaw has the second most wins on home ice with 17 and a road record of 8-9-2. When leading after the first period the Warriors are 15-0-2. And when leading after the second, they have only one loss (14-1-3). When the Warriors outshoot their opponent they have a 14-4-2 record. The Warriors have the 12th ranked power play (21.1%) and the ninth best penalty killing (80.4%) in the league. The Warriors have played in 10 overtime games (collecting 15 points) tied for most in the WHL, only the Red Deer Rebels have played in as many.
The Warriors play two games in the province of Alberta before returning home to face the Wheat Kings on Sunday night. The second stop in Rocky Mountain province is Medicine Hat where they will face Emerson Etem and the Tigers. Sunday night is the first of three home dates for the Warriors next week. The Warriors will welcome the Victoria Royals mid-week and then square off with the Kootenay Ice next Friday for the final time this regular season. Before ending the week in the Queen City to challenge the Pats next Saturday night which is also Hockey Day in Saskatchewan.
Scorer - Cam Braes now leads the Warriors in scoring with 45 points in 44 games (24G, 22A)
Goals - Cam Braes 24
The Warriors leading goal scorers prior to the arrival of Braes, were former Hitmen Kenton Miller, Quinton Howden and Sam Fioretti with 14.
Assists - James Henry 35
Preceding the arrival of James Henry (35), Cody Beach was the top disher leading the Warriors with 22 helpers.