Game Preview: Moose Jaw Warriors at Calgary Hitmen
|Photo by Cory Kerr|
A late season three game swing through the Central Division has the Warriors facing the Calgary Hitmen at the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight. The Warriors began the trip with a win in Lethbridge on Wednesday night. They will look to keep the two game winning streak going, but also try to even the season series with the Hitmen, in this final meeting of the regular season.
The Warriors (33-15-5-1--72 points), will battle the Calgary Hitmen (32-20-2-1--67points) at the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight in the second game versus a Central Division opponent. The Warriors will play the Hitmen for the fourth and final time this regular season. The Hitmen have taken the last two meetings by a 5-2 score. Moose Jaw won the opening game of the four-game season series with a 3-2 OT win back in November. Last season the two clubs split the season series at 2-2. The home team would also split the season series gaining a win in two opportunities.
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 25-10 and are 4-1 in that stretch. Moose Jaw is tied for the most wins (23) on home ice in the WHL with Portland and Edmonton and a road record of 10-12-3. 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 21-1-4. 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 22-7-3-1 record. The Warriors have an 18-4-5-1 record in one goal games. The Warriors have the sixth ranked power play (23%) and the 10th best penalty kill (80.3%) in the league. The Moose Jaw Warriors have played in 12 overtime games, second most in the WHL. They have collected 18 points from games in extra time. The Warriors have eight players with 10 or more goals this season and three players with 20+ goals this campaign.
|Photo by Cory Kerr|
Warriors Team Leading Scorers: Braes (30-31-61), Henry (10-42-52), Howden (23-25-48), Beach (12-30-42), Kirsch (17-21-38)
Hitmen Team Leading Scorers: Cody Sylvester (18-38-56), Jimmy Bubnick (25-30-55), Brady Brassart (17-26-43), Victor Rask (23-19-42), Alex Gogolev (22-19-41)
The story lately for the Warriors has been the emergence of some offensive scoring from older, more veteran players. In the last three games, Quinton Howden has put up 10 points, including two back-to-back four point nights. Within those four point nights, Howden has also notched two consecutive hat tricks. However, Howden has been the only story as of late. Kenton Miller, who was named Warriors player of the month in January, has also been providing an offensive spark. Miller in his last eight games has scored six goals. Four of those goals have been game winners; Miller has seven on the season which is second best in the WHL. Cam Braes has also been producing on the score sheet. In his 12 games dawning Warriors' colours Braes has registered 16 points (6G, 10A) in 12 games.
The key to the game could be the Warriors powerplay. The Hitmen are the most penalized team in the league with 1053. The Warriors were 2-for-4 on Wednesday night and click at a 23% success rate with the man advantage.
The Warriors finish up the road trip in Red Deer tomorrow night. The game time is a little later on a Saturday night, 8:30 PM CST. Moose Jaw returns home Wednesday to face the Saskatoon Blades. Puck drop from Mosaic is 7:00 pm local.