Warriors continue to improve
The Saddle Lake Warriors continued their dominant streak in the Northeastern Alberta Junior B Hockey League with a 4-2 victory over the Lloydminster Bandits on Friday night.
“The system is working, they’re starting to believe,” said Warriors head coach Darryl Buck. “If you believe in yourself and believe we can beat them, we can beat them. I said it before, we can beat any team in the league here, we’ve got the capabilities.”
The Warriors picked up their second victory against the Bandits this season in convincing fashion, grabbing hold of the lead in the first period and never giving it up.
“We’ve just been practicing a lot and working as a team and talking to each other,” said Warriors forward Barry Partridge. “We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.”
Paul Quinney opened the scoring with the first period’s only goal, assisted by Cole Steinhauer and Kevin Jackson-Quinney. While the Bandits evened things up with a shorthanded goal in the opening minutes of the second, the Warriors’ leading scorer Tyler Haineault took the lead back for Saddle Lake five minutes later to make it 2-1.
The Bandits put the pressure on the Warriors defense in the third period, but Partridge extended the lead to two goals with 12 minutes left to play.
“It felt good; I never usually do that,” Partridge said of his game-winning goal. “I’m starting to pick it up a lot now for the team and it’s been good.”
While Lloydminster managed to beat Warriors net-minder Dyllon Laboucan on the power play with seven minutes left, Saddle Lake shut down the Bandits for the rest of the game, and Haineault added his 17th goal of the season into an empty net to ice the game.
Buck pointed to Warriors general manager Winston Lapatak as a reason for the team’s considerable improvement over the past month.
“His scouting and whatever he’s doing, he’s doing a hell of a job building this team,” Buck said. “This is basically his team, I just run the ship, he builds the ship . . . He does a lot of extra work trying to make this team better every game.”
The Warriors also picked up a 5-1 victory over the Killam Wheat Kings on Sunday night, leaving them 10 points behind the Vegreville Rangers with 11 games left in the regular season.
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