Rebels doubled up by high-powered Warriors
By DANNY RODE
MOOSE JAW, SK – The Moose Jaw Warriors are not a team you want to make defensive mistakes against.
Boasting one of the most prolific offences in the WHL, the Warriors put it on display with a 6-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels before 3,349 spectators at the Moose Jaw Events Centre Saturday.
“We missed a couple of assignments and mistakes on the faceoffs and those are areas we need to clean up,” said Rebels head coach Derrick Walser, who watched his squad drop their third straight game on the five-game-in-seven-day road trip.
The fact the Rebels were playing their third game in four days and won’t even get 24 hours before facing the Regina Pats Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. MST, wasn’t about to upset Walser.
“Every team goes through a tough trip, we just can’t give up … we have to turn the page, regroup and not worry about who we’re playing,” he said. “We got a chance to win tomorrow and Tuesday (in Swift Current) and we can go .500 on the road trip.”
The Rebels got off to a quick start Saturday with Jeremiah Roberts deflecting a knee-high point shot by Quentin Bourne past Warriors netnminder Jackson Ungar at 2:50 of the first period.
Red Deer’s starting netminder Chase Wutzke kept the Warriors off the board until 13:59 of the opening frame when Martin Rysavy scored his 16th goal of the season on a two-on-one break.
Buffalo Sabres 2022 first-round draft pick Matthew Savoie put the Warriors ahead at 18:24 when he gobbled up a loose puck in the crease and scored on the power play.
Moose Jaw held a 17-8 edge in shots in the first period and 9-7 in the second when they increased their lead to 4-1. Rysavy notched his second of the game at 10:21 when he was left all alone in front of Wutzke. League scoring leader Jagger Firgus fired his 39th goal and 86th point on a shorthanded breakaway with two minutes left in the frame.
Rhett Stoesser replaced Wutzke to start the third period and Kai Uchacz gave the Rebels a bit of life with his 11th power play goal of the season at 6:22. It was his 31st career power play marker with the Rebels, leaving him second all time behind Ben King, who has 44.
It was also Uchacz’s 30th goal of the season as he reaches that mark for the second straight year – he had 50 last season – making him the first to turn the trick in back-to-back seasons for the Rebels since Justin Mapletoft scored 39 in 1999-2000 and 43 in 2000-01.
However, that momentum was short-lived as Brayden Shuurman restored a three-goal lead for the Warriors at 7:08 when he stole the puck in the Red Deer zone and tucked it past Stoesser. Atley Calvert scored his 30th of the season on a tip-in at 9:44.
Carson Birnie completed the scoring for the Rebels at 18:20 of the third period with his 10th tally of the year.
The Rebels held an 11-9 edge in shots in the final frame as they never did say die.
“We have that character, we never quit,” said Walser. “But we need to clean up a few things, starting tomorrow.”
One of the things they need to clean up is their power play, which was one-for-five.
“We were disciplined tonight, but our special teams need to be better,” said Walser.
ICE CHIPS – Rysavy was named the game’s first star with Shuurman second and Savoie, who was playing his eighth game with the Warriors since his trade from Wenatchee, third star … Unger posted his 12th straight victory and league-leading 26th of the season … Moose Jaw was one-for-three with the man advantage … Thanks to a 3-2 Prince Albert win, the Rebels remain two points back of the Medicine Hat Tigers in the battle for first place in the Central Division and with a game in hand, which they make up Sunday in Regina (3 p.m. MT on 106.7 REWIND Radio) … The Moose Jaw win, their 30th of the season, moved them into a tie with Medicine Hat for second in the Eastern Conference, two points up on Red Deer … The Rebels return home Friday when they once again face the Warriors on 80s/Nickelodeon Night in which they’ll be wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed jerseys to be auctioned in-house in support of Children’s Miracle Network.
Photo: Nick Pettigrew