Warriors dethrone Royals
Defenceman Josh Brook makes debut following injury
The Moose Jaw Warriors finally decided that enough was enough.
After playing subpar for the past five games, head coach Tim Hunter challenged his players to step up against the B.C. Division-leading Victoria Royals on Tuesday night at Mosaic Place and they did just that, taking a 7-4 victory.
“No question, I’m not going to talk about little boys,” said Hunter following the game. “They played like men and we got the outcome. Our top six forwards were our best players and it showed on the scoresheet and in the game and that’s what we need every night.”
With the trade deadline looming on Jan. 10 and Hunter heading off to coach with Team Canada for the World Junior Championships in December, he said now is the time for his players to step up.
“I think they had a couple meetings amongst themselves, and I challenged them right before the game again that we have an evaluation process here, we’ve here to win,” Hunter said.
“Trade deadline is Jan. 10. It’s back to square one, we played 20 real good games, where we played real hard and real strong and then we didn’t do that for five games, and we stumbled along against Saskatoon for three games, Calgary, then lost to P.A. We are not going to win if we play like that and I told them. So I’m here for six more games before the game tonight, before I go to the World Juniors. Each of these six games are a tryout for me and what my thoughts are come Jan. 10.”
What is helping for the Warriors is the fact that they are starting to get healthy when it comes to defencemen.
While Jett Woo is still nursing an injury, star defenceman Josh Brook made his season debut after having surgery on his wrist following an injury at Montreal Canadiens’ training camp in September.
After getting a few shots in, Brook said after the game that his wrist feels great and it didn’t take long for him to shake off the rust.
“I think it took me three or four shifts to get back into it. Once I got into it, it built confidence throughout the game and it started to get better and better,” he said.
He also made an immediate impact on the game as he made a huge hit an Victoria’s leading goal-scorer Matthew Phillips to break up a scoring chance midway through the game.
“I know they’ve got the most shorthanded goals in the league, and I could read that pass coming right up,” Brook said. “I knew they were going to give it to him and I was just lining up the entire time.”
Moose Jaw got on the board first on Tuesday night as Jayden Halbgewachs picked up the rebound off of a Brett Howden shot to beat Victoria goaltender Griffen Outhouse.
Justin Almeida scores his second of three goals for the Moose Jaw Warriors against the Victoria Royals on Tuesday night at Mosaic Place.