The Winnipeg ICE are heading to Moose Jaw after splitting the first two games on home ice. With both games ending in a 5-3 score, it was strange. Despite having the same score, the games were vastly different and not in a good way for the Winnipeg ICE. If they want a chance in this series, they will need to return to form in Moose Jaw.
Game 1: ICE 5 – Warriors 3
The Winnipeg ICE welcomed a friendly face back to their lineup. Zach Benson returned from injury, he missed the entire first round. It did not take long for him to find the score sheet either. He was able to put the ICE up 2-0 at the 12:03 mark of the first period. The ICE would go on to be up 3-1 by the end of the period. Then came the Warriors. They put up two goals in the second to head to the third, all tied up at three.
In the third, the ICE came out and scored a goal early, with Connor McClennon scoring just three minutes into the frame. The ICE would add another one three minutes later, and that would ice the game for Winnipeg. The big story of the game was Warriors goaltender, Connor Ungar, as he stopped 32 of 37 that he faced in the game.
Game 2: ICE 3 – Warriors 5
This game was the tale of two ICE teams. The team with Daniel Hauser as the goalie and the team with Mason Beaupit in the net. The first period was a period Hauser would like to forget, as the Warriors would put up four goals on eleven shots, and he would get pulled after the first. Brayden Yager would have two of those goals. Ryder Korczak and Atley Calvert also would rack up two points each in the period. In the second period, the ICE turned it up a notch, outshooting the Warriors 11-7 but could not beat Connor Ungar.
The third period is when the ICE got desperate. Zack Ostpachuk would score a minute in on the powerplay. The ICE would then score with six minutes left to pull within two. Then Carson Latimer would score with four minutes left to bring the ICE within one. With the goalie pulled, the ICE would go for the one goal but, failed as the Warriors would defend well, and the goaltender would not be beaten. The Warriors would add an empty net goal to make it a 5-3 final. Not without an effort, as the ICE would outshoot the Warriors 18-2 in the third.
After seeing the outcome of the first two games, it is very obvious what needs to happen. If the ICE are to win, they need to figure out Connor Ungar. They figured it out in Game One, but they will continue to run into a stellar goaltender. The other factor is that they will need Daniel Hauser to return to his game-breaking form; if both of these goaltenders are on, we may see a low-scoring rest of the series. The ICE as a whole needs to look at what happened in the first period of Game Two and learn from it. Teams lose games on their way to the finals, but championship teams learn from the losses.