The Moose Jaw Warriors finally figured out how to avoid overtime with the Brandon Wheat Kings and the solution was as obvious as could be: work hard like the coaching staff has been asking of you and the results will follow.
That strategy might not have worked perfectly against the Everett Silvertips one game earlier — a 2-0 loss on Saturday — but, boy oh boy was it effective against Brandon in the seventh of eight meetings between the two teams this season.
The Warriors outshot the Wheat Kings 12 -1 in the first period — with that one shot not coming until 12 minutes had passed — and 29-8 through two on their way to a 3-1 victory in Western Hockey League action at Mosaic Place on Tuesday.
“I think we did a good job defensively together as a team and not just the d-men. We limited their chances and that was a bit part of the win,” said Warriors defenceman Matt Sozanski, who had an assist in the game and was a key cog in the efficient defensive zone puck movement that limited Brandon’s chances. “We know they have a bunch of skill up the middle, so we just tried to keep the puck out of the middle and in the hard areas along the boards so they couldn’t generate any speed through the middle.”
A major part of that was limiting the chances the top line of Stelio Mattheos, Tyler Coulter and projected NHL Draft first overall pick Nolan Patrick were able to generate — a job that largely fell to the Warriors’ line of Tanner Jeannot, Thomas Foster and Spencer Bast.
Their performance drew rave reviews from Warriors head coach Tim Hunter, who pointed to the overall team showing as a lesson learned through the handful of tough losses over their last few games.
See Thursday’s online and print edition of the Times-Herald for more.