The Moose Jaw Warriors looked like they'd be the perfect tonic to revive the slumping Calgary Hitmen. But last night, it was the 6-24-5-1 Warriors, the WHL's doormats, besting the Hitmen at the Moose Jaw Civic Centre with a 5-3 win. With the loss, the short-staffed Hitmen (15-13-6-1) are now 1-6-2 in their last nine.
It was a weak goal that ultimately cost the team a point.
With the game knotted 2-2 midway through the second, Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Boyd scored for Moose Jaw from behind the net after the puck hit rookie goaltender Daniel Spence's pad and found its way across the line.
"That was not a good goal on our part, on Daniel's part and normally, if we've got four lines and six healthy defencemen and we're confident, that one goal probably doesn't hurt us but, as of late, the one bad goal seems to continually hurt us," said Hitmen assistant coach Dean Evason, whose club has a glut of injuries and is without leading scorers Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd as they toil with the world junior team.
Calgary broke out to a 2-0 first-period lead on powerplay goals from Lee Zalasky and rookie Ryan White, who scored less than two minutes apart to end the opening stanza.
But Calgary's cushion disappeared quickly after the Warriors roared back with four tallies in the first 14 minutes of the second.
Riley Holzapfel, Kenndal McArdle, Boyd and Karey Pieper did the damage, with McArdle's and Boyd's goals coming via the powerplay.
Calgary's Brett Carson brought the visitors within one when he tallied on a man-advantage at 8:13 of the third.
But McArdle's empty netter with 22 seconds left iced the contest.
The Hitmen play their last game before Christmas tonight in Saskatoon (6 p.m., FAN960).
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MOOSE JAW WARRIORS: 5
CALGARY HITMEN: 3