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Leader-Post article (Breakout game lifts Warriors)

April 9 2012 at 7:03 AM
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N. W. Bruin  (Login NW_Bruin_GM)

Response to Edmonton Journal article (Oil Kings erupt in second)

Breakout game lifts Warriors

By Matthew Gourlie, Moose Jaw Times-Herald

April 9, 2012

After a Good Friday win, the Moose Jaw Warriors had a great Saturday.

The Warriors found an offensive breakthrough and scored six unanswered goals in a 6-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Saturday's Game 2 win give the Warriors a 2-0 lead in their WHL Eastern Conference semifinal series. The best-of-seven affair shifts to Medicine Hat for games Tuesday and Wednesday.

"It was definitely nice to have a breakout night and score some goals because (Medicine Hat's Tyler Bunz) is a really great goalie," said Warriors captain Kendall McFaull. "We got a lot of traffic in front of him and that makes it hard for any goalie."

Hunter Shinkaruk scored a short-handed goal in the first period to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead, but Quinton Howden scored twice in 45 seconds in the middle of the second period to put the Warriors ahead for good.

"We expect all of our players to step up. That's what we've done all year long. Every night it's somebody different. (Friday) it was Joel Edmundson. Tonight it was (Howden)," said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers.

"That's been the key to our team all season long. We try not to rely on any on individual or any line, per se."

Bunz had stopped 67 of the first 71 shots he faced in the series, but the Warriors finally got to him in the third period as they scored four times.

Their persistence in putting the puck on net paid off when Bunz failed to catch a point shot from McFaull and Eric Arnold was there to bang the gift home 13 seconds into the third period. Kenton Miller, Cody Beach and Justin Kirsch also scored in the third period for the Warriors.

McFaull finished with four assists on the night.

"We've got a team with depth and different guys contribute in different ways and that helps us be successful," said Howden, who felt their ability to get to the net was the reason they were so successful in the third period.

"We were getting too many shots from the outside and we weren't going to the hard areas to get the goals. We knew going into the second period that was what we were going to have to do to get some past Bunz."

Bunz was under fire for the second game in a row as the Tigers were outshot 40-15. The Warriors outshot the Tigers 43-17 in their 2-1 Game 1 victory on Friday.

"We scored the first goal, but I thought as the game went on Moose Jaw did a real good job on their forecheck. We just spent too much time defending and eventually that broke it open," said Tigers head coach Shaun Clouston.

The Tigers were without leading scorer Emerson Etem, who sat out the first game of an undetermined suspension after he was given a kneeing major in Game 1. The victim of that hit, Warriors rightwinger Torrin White, didn't play in Game 2.

The Tigers were also missing Chad Labelle, who was injured in Game 1. The Warriors welcomed back defenceman Travis Brown, who had missed four games with an "upper body injury.''

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