Trading away the bulk of their veteran presence meant more opportunity for some of the younger members of the Vancouver Giants.
But in their first test, the team was not up to the task.
Playing their first game since the Western Hockey League trade deadline, the team mustered just one goal in a 4-1 loss the Moose Jaw Warriors at the Langley Events Centre.
The loss dropped Vancouver to 16-24-1-2 while Moose Jaw improved to 26-10-6-1.
“Guys were bumped up probably four, five, six minutes tonight,” said Giants head coach Jason McKee.
The coach said the players knew they had a chance to make more of an impact, but not enough stepped up to the challenge.
“(Brendan Semchuk) was a guy who played more minutes and took advantage of it, but we didn’t have enough guys who did,” McKee said.
Semchuk — now on the team’ top line — set up the team’s lone goal, winning a puck battle behind the goal-line and feeding a wide-open Ty Ronning in front.
Running beat Moose Jaw goaltender Brody Willms low to the blocker side to tie the score at one in the first period.
But that would be the only Vancouver goal on the night while Moose Jaw scored four times.
McKee was frustrated his team lost on a night when they limited the opposition to just 25 shots on goal. That was about seven shots below the team’s season average.
“We made mistakes. I think the biggest thing for us is our individual decisions affect 19 other guys,” he said.
“We missed assignments, which is frustrating but we move on. It is one of those things where you give up (25 shots) but it is the mistakes that cost you. It is a frustrating night; we didn’t have a lot of push back.”
The special teams also continue to be a problem as Vancouver allowed two power-play goals and another short-handed, while their own power play was 0-for-4.
Former Giant Thomas Foster had opened the scoring for Moose Jaw, wiring a wrist shot over the shoulder of Ryan Kubic.
After Ronning tied it at one with his team-leading 17th goal, Jayden Halbgewachs completed a pretty passing play to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Neither team scored in the second period but Brayden Burke banged home a loose puck from the side of the net early in the third period for an insurance goal and then Moose Jaw captain Brett Howden iced the game with a short-handed marker. Kubic made the save on the two-on-one break but the puck went up kn the air and hit his back before trickling across the goal-line.
Burke and Halbgewachs each had a goal and two assist while Foster and Howden had one goal and one assist apiece.
The Giants are back in action on Saturday night as they visit the Sandman Centre in Kamloops to battle the Blazers.