The Yorkton Junior Bulldogs gave those in attendance a really good showing in the third period of their 2010 season opener of the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League home opener when the usually-powerful Moose Jaw Mustangs came to down Saturday.
It was one that pleased coach Joe Choptuik, who acknowledged it but also pointed out that his team is going to need a few more efforts like the one they showed that night if they are going find themselves anywhere near the top of the standings this season.
They took a pretty bad loss in the opener of the season May 16 in Saskatoon, he said, but they did show an ability to rebound this past Saturday. Something they hadn't done much of prior to.
Saturday's game wasn't a win either, but Yorkton climbed back into it and made things interesting, but fell just short in an 8-6 defeat.
He was alluding to the fact his team spotted the visiting Warriors a 3-0 lead early in the game, in which Yorkton forwards showed absolutely no intimidation with their opponents all night long.
Moose Jaw jumped out to an early lead on first period goals by Frank Davalos, Kyle Dalgarno and one early in the second by Tyler Dobrescu.
Yorkton's Brandon Wizniak got one back for the home team at 12:53 of the middle frame as goaltender Louden Choptuik drew an assist.
Coach Choptuik said it was a bunch of mistakes that resulted in the win allthough he said he thought Moose Jaw goaltender Sheldon Paul did a fairly good job to keep Yorkton off the board in the opening period.
Moose Jaw got their fourth goal shortly after Wizniak's effort, and would add a fifth goal with time running out in the period.
Wizniak added a shorthanded marker to send the teams to the dressing room with Yorkton facing a 5-2 deficit.
That set the stage for the third period in which Yorkton scored four times. Goals by Dalton Bakke, Jayden Dozorec, Jerrason Fisher and Zach Soke had the game tied for the Bulldogs, but Moose Jaw would take advantage of a Yorkton penalty late in the game and made off with an 8-6 win.
Three of the Yorkton goals in the third came unanswered before the penalty call.
Soke led the team in scoring with a goal and four assists. Dozorec, Fisher and Wizniak all had two points each.
For the first time in over a year, Yorkton took on the bigger Moose Jaw Warriors and held their own, taking on guys much bigger than some of them are.
The action included one fight in the first, a close call later in the same period when Yorkton showed a little discipline, and then a second heated scrap late in the third with Yorkton trailing on the scoreboard.
Choptuik said this is going to be a season where his club is going to prove that a game in Yorkton is not going to be easy and if opponents want to get physical, the Bulldogs have a little muscle themselves; a point which they showed several times in the opener.
Despite being handed an 8-6 defeat, the game saw Yorkton come back with one of the strongest periods they've played going back to the start of the 2008 season, and Choptuik said he's training his players to play with somewhat of a spark.
"We can always do better," he admitted rather casually, adding that they are going to have to continue to score "more good goals."
Moose Jaw led his team by a 5-2 count headed to the third period when Yorkton came back with four goals. The Warriors potted one more and the teams were all even at six-apiece with 3:43 left in regulation.
A Yorkton penalty would put the home side down a man and the visitors wasted no time taking advantage to restore a one-goal lead at 7-6.
They'd tally once more with under a minute remaining to round out the road win.
Yorkton's next home action is scheduled for Friday night at Kinsmen Arena. Game time is 8 p.m.