Friday, February 17, 2012


Game Preview: Medicine Hat Tigers at Moose Jaw Warriors

The home stretch for the playoffs is fully underway now. These two clubs are right in the thick of that race in the WHL Eastern Conference. The Tigers and Warriors will both be looking to gain ground in the pursuit of first place in the Eastern Conference tonight. The Warriors hold the trump card by controlling the top seed in the East Division. The Warriors possess a nine point lead in the division, by defeating the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday night, and are now chasing the Edmonton Oil Kings for top spot in the Eastern Conference. The hunt for first place in the conference continues as the margin is only five points and the Warriors hold a game in-hand on the Oil Kings. The Tigers are also looking to hunt down the number one seed trailing Edmonton by nine points. Thus, the importance of this back-to-back set between these clubs is of the utmost. The two teams also possess a couple of the WHL`s hottest players right now.

Photo by Cory Kerr

Quinton Howden has been on a tear so far this month. In six games in February, Howden has scored nine goals and added five assists to register 14 points in that stretch. Let`s also not downplay the importance that Kenton Miller has been to the Warriors. Currently, Miller holds the WHL player streak with five games and 11 points, including seven goals in that stretch. For the visiting club, Emerson Etem just achieved a feat undone in that 11 years by scoring 50 goals (51) in 50 games. Etem enjoyed an 11-game goal streak, racking up 14 goals from December 10th to January 27th. The Tigers` winger leads the WHL in goals and is fourth in the overall scoring race. The two Warriors will look to continue their stellar play and lead their team tonight.

The Warriors (36-15-5-1--78 points) face off against the Medicine Hat Tigers (35-19-2-2--74 points) at Mosaic Place tonight. The two teams have met twice this 2011-12 regular season and will renew acquaintances in back-to-back, home-and-home meetings this weekend. The Tigers come in with the second best 10 game record (7-3) to face the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, the Warriors who have won five in a row and are 8-1-1 in their last 10. The home team has earned the victories thus far in this series. The Tigers won 6-3 in Medicine Hat in mid-January. The Warriors got a 3-2 victory on Nov. 19, 2011. These are also the final two meetings of the regular season between these clubs. Last season, the Warriors were 0-2-0-2 against the Tigers which has been improved this earning a split thus far.

Photo by Cory Kerr
The Warriors are 8-1-1 their last ten, collecting 17 of a possible 20 points. In the last five games, the Warriors have outscored their opponent's 29-14 and are undefeated in that stretch. Moose Jaw is tied for the most wins (24) on home ice in the WHL with Portland and Edmonton and a road record of 12-12-3. When leading after the first the Warriors are 20-1-2. That unblemished record was broken by the Hitmen Friday, Jan.13th. And when leading after forty minutes, they hold a record of 24-1-4. The one loss held by the Warriors when leading after 40 minutes was tarnished by the Pats on Dec. 9th, 2011. When the Warriors outshoot their opponent they have a 25-7-3-1 record. The Warriors have an 18-4-5-1 record in one goal games. The Warriors have the sixth ranked power play (23.6%) and the 10th best penalty kill (80.6%) in the league. The Moose Jaw Warriors have played in 12 overtime games, (tied) third most in the WHL. They have collected 18 points from games in extra time. The Warriors have nine players with 10 or more goals this season and three players with 20+ goals this campaign.

The Warriors won 5-2 against the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday at Mosaic Place. Kenton Miller recorded his first hat trick in his WHL career. Quinton Howden and Cam Braes had the other Warrior goals. With the win, the lead in the East Division was increased to nine points over the Blades. In their final game of a three game road trip through the Central Division, the Warriors capped it off with their third consecutive win. In a wildly entertaining second period (for the fans), the teams tallied nine goals, Kirsch scored late in the period to give the club a 6-5 lead. The Warriors scored two in the 3rd and won 8-5. On Friday night at the Saddledome, the Warriors fell behind by two early, but rallied to score four unanswered to collect a 4-2 victory against the Hitmen. Kenton Miller had a three point night and Justin Kirsch added a pair of assists, as the two former Hitmen contributed in defeating their old club.

Leading Scorers: Braes (65), Henry (56), Howden (52), Kirsch (44) and Cody Beach (44)

Tigers Leading Scorers: Etem (90), Shinkaruk (73), Bettauer 45, Konan 45, Valk (44)

The Tigers then host the Warriors at 8:30 p.m. CST on Saturday. The Warriors will travel west to face the Swift Current Broncos in a Monday afternoon affair. Game time is 2 p.m. from Speedy Creek.

Catch all the action live on Prairie Mobile Warriors Hockey on Country 100FM with the voice of the Warriors James Gallo. Follow us on Facebook at and Twitter!/MJWARRIORS

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