Riding their longest losing streak of the season wasn’t how the Moose Jaw Warriors wanted to head into their biggest road trip of the year.
However, the Warriors (21-11-5-2) have lost four straight games — all at home — as they begin a seven-game road trip. The silver lining for the Warriors is that they have been excellent away from home all season. Their 12-3-1-0 road record is second only to the Prince Albert Raiders (17-2-0).
The Warriors welcomed back head coach Tim Hunter from World Junior duty Wednesday, but lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Calgary Hitmen. They followed that with a 7-2 setback against Seattle and a 3-2 loss to Brandon to conclude their four-game home stand.
The Warriors also made three deals before Thursday’s Western Hockey League trade deadline.
The team added 1999-born forward Alec Zawatsky from Swift Current in exchange for Tyler Smithies (who had left the team) plus a fourth-round pick (2020) and a fifth-round pick (2021).
Moose Jaw also added 2000-born winger Carson Denomie from Kamloops for a 2019 seventh-round pick. A day earlier, the Warriors got down to eight defencemen by trading 2000-born rear guard Brenden Kwiatkowski to Kootenay for a 2019 ninth-round pick.
On Saturday, Luka Burzan, Stelio Mattheos and Baron Thompson scored three straight goals to earn the Wheat Kings a win on the road.
Brayden Tracey opened the scoring with his 17th of the season before Burzan tied the game when his 24th of the season came via a penalty shot. Mattheos’ 29th of the season served as the game winner.
Zawatsky scored his first goal as a Warrior on the power play goal midway through the third, but it wasn’t enough.
Jiri Patera made 27 saves for Brandon, while Adam Evanoff stopped 18 shots for Moose Jaw.
The Warriors were without Daemon Hunt who left Friday’s game against Seattle in the first period and didn’t return.
The injury proved to be a turning point in the game as the Warriors enjoyed a 1-0 lead, but struggled in the second period as the Thunderbirds scored four goals.
Tracey — who has six goals in his last six games — opened the scoring and gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead after the first twenty minutes.
Andrej Kukuca scored the first of two power play goals on the night as he, Nolan Volcan, Sean Richards and Keltie Jeri-Leon staked Seattle to a 4-1 lead after two periods.
Langan got the Warriors to within two goals, but Jarret Tyszka put the game away and Tyler Carpendale rounded out the scoring as Seattle won four of six games of their East Division road trip.
Noah Philp had four assists for Seattle.
Roddy Ross made 24 saves for Seattle, including some big stops while the score was still close. Brodan Salmond was strong in the first period, but couldn’t stem the tide forever and made 20 saves for Moose Jaw.
Midweek, the Warriors led twice, but couldn’t make it pay off against the surging Hitmen. Langan gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead and Keenan Taphorn put them up 2-1, but Dakota Krebs and Kaden Elder each replied for Calgary to force overtime.
Dalton Hamaliuk and Josh Brook each had two assists.
Josh Prokop scored the winning goal in the fourth round of the shootout. Carson Focht and James Malm also scored for Calgary, while Justin Almeida and Tracey converted their penalty shots for Moose Jaw.
Both goalies were busy as Evanoff made 35 saves and Jack McNaughton stopped 33 shots for Calgary.
The Warriors will begin their trek through the B.C. Division Tuesday in Kamloops.