Sunday, February 26, 2012

Swift Current Broncos 2 at Moose Jaw Warriors 5 - February 25, 2012


The winter storm that had been predicted arrived in Regina just as I left my hotel, but it was mostly just blowing snow and the short drive to Moose Jaw wasn't impacted. After I arrived though, the storm hit with force, so I spent some time at the casino and a bar while waiting for the game to start that evening. The picture below shows the condition of the streets, not a lot of fun for drivers.


Mosaic Place


Opened in August 2011, Mosaic Place is a brand new multi-purpose complex that is the jewel of downtown Moose Jaw. Along with the hockey rink, there is an 8-sheet curling rink and a restaurant known as the Great Western Lounge, which is open during games.


There is little to talk about there, and I mean that in a good way. There is a single seating bowl with 14 or 15 rows per section, and some very nice-looking suites above it. The concourse is quite spacious and you can stand anywhere and watch the game while making your rounds.


Parking is free but limited within the parking lot, however street parking is free when there is an event at Mosaic Place.


There are concession stands at every corner as well as pop and candy machines. I didn't see much of interest though, just your typical WHL fare, with prices a bit more than I would expect.


There were no pennants or banners immediately noticeable; I'm not sure if that is due to the Warriors relatively poor success record or that they haven't moved them from the old rink yet.


The best thing about this place is the acoustics. I enjoy the sounds of hockey: the puck being passed stick to stick, a pad save, the players yelling at each other and this rink allows all of those to be heard more clearly than any other venue. Some may argue the crowd is too quiet, but I think that is a factor of being caught up in the game. Hockey requires concentration to watch properly and these fans follow that maxim closely.


Overall, this is a simple place where hockey rules. I arrived two hours before game time and was happy to find the rink open to the public. I walked in and watched a pick-up game between two teams of guys in their 40s, exploring the venue in the process. It was great fun to be one of few spectators in such a sparkling new arena (a few of the Warriors were watching as well, perhaps seeing their future). If you are every driving through Moose Jaw, check out the WHL schedule and see if the Warriors are in town, you won't regret a visit to Mosaic Place.


The Game

Both teams had played the night before and then traveled to get here and it showed. There was little intensity from either team and plenty of uninterrupted choppy hockey.



Moose Jaw had come off that terrible 8-2 thrashing at the hands of the Regina Pats and things started poorly for them when Richard Nedomlel (below, Detroit's 6th round pick in 2011) scored on a screen shot just 26 seconds in. After that we had seven minutes of continuous play until Swift Current took a penalty.


The Warriors tied things up when Kenton Miller beat Jon Groenheyde high after a give-and-go with Tanner Eberle. It was a great shot and Miller's third goal on the trip after he scored two in Swift Current earlier in the week. He's an undrafted free agent that seems to have a good touch around the net. Curious to see if he'll end up signing somewhere.


The second period saw the Broncos score against the run of play when Taylor Vause took a Moose Jaw giveaway and found Coda Gordon (above) alone in front of the net. Gordon beat Luke Siemens easily and I thought that we might be in for a replay of the previous night's game, where Moose Jaw outplayed their opponent only to lose. The Warriors had other ideas though, and they put the pressure on to score not one but two great goals just 25 seconds apart to take a 3-2 lead into the third.


That seemed to deflate Swift Current, who could only muster 4 shots in the final frame while Moose Jaw added a two more markers, including another by Miller, to complete the win 5-2. The highlights are here. You can see the Warriors' domination in shots below.


Notes

Great fans here, with over 4,000 showing up despite the snow. Of course, for them, this was just a few flurries, not nearly enough to keep them from a hockey game.

The Warriors were sporting their 3rd jersey, a red number with "Warriors" across the front. Good to see different designs when I see the same team more than twice.

Next Up

The storm was still going after the game ended, but the snow wasn't sticking on the highway, so it didn't slow me down that much. Ironically, I drove to Swift Current where I grabbed some shuteye before continuing on my way to Calgary, where I just saw the Hitmen beat the Rockets in the last game on the Canadian portion of the trip (update to follow shortly).

I'm flying to LA tomorrow where I've got two or three events to there before I head back to Japan. As usual, keep checking back for updates.

Best,

Sean

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