Ice look to put Warriors on ice
Winnipeg Ice head coach James Patrick would prefer to put the wraps on his clubs WHL Eastern Conference semifinal against the Moose Jaw Warriors with a decisive win in Game 5 at Wayne Fleming Arena Friday night.
His counterpart, Mark OLeary, wants the pesky Warriors to extend the series to Game 6 back at Moose Jaws Mosaic Place and beyond.
Winnipeg subdued Moose Jaw with a 5-3 victory in Wednesdays Game 4 and holds a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven affair. Game time Friday is 7 p.m.
If we wouldve had a little bit of puck luck (Wednesday) night the series couldve been tied, said OLeary by phone as the Warriors travelled to Winnipeg Thursday. We play better at home for sure but we found our game in Game 3 and I thought we were even better in (Game) 4. I think were looking forward to the job back in Winnipeg.
Patrick was impressed with his clubs bounce-back after losing 3-2 in Tuesdays Game 3.
I really felt we showed that we could get in and play the way we had to, said Patrick. And I thought (Wednesday) night was a perfect example of just every guy, especially on the forward group, got on the defensive side of the puck, they blocked shots, no one was cheating and they played the system.
The Warriors will need to be better than Games 1 and 2 to have a chance after lost the two outings by a combined scored of 13-1.
In Game 3, Moose Jaw did not allow a goal during a five-minute charging major to Robert Baco to emerge with a 3-2 win. Bacos hit levelled Jakin Smallwood and the overage Ice forward missed Game 4 and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The Ice have adapted to the absence of the versatile Smallwood.
Skyler (Bruce) took his spot on the power play and weve gotten that (kind of help) all year long, said Patrick. We only had one penalty kill and so it didnt effect that but it was going to affect who was coming out next. But the fact that (the Warriors) only went with 11 forwards and then quickly went to three lines, that forced us to go to three lines in the matchup. Without having Jakin there it probably dropped us into that kind of response.
The Ice will be wary of Warriors sniper Jagger Firkus, who has struck for three goals in the last two games.
We were aware of his talent and ability before hes had a great year, said Patrick. Hes played well in thir series previous to ours. Obviously, its a game of matchups. But this time of year when they get the last change (on home ice), it does change things a bit.
Moose Jaw has its own injury issues, with all-star defenceman Daemon Hunt listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He has not played since March 19.
Hes skating, said OLeary. Its a matter of whether he feels comfortable playing or not.
Credit: Ice look to put Warriors on ice