Warriors Victorious in Game 7

Pier-Luc Doyon

April 3rd, game 7.

An all too familiar feeling for Warrior fans as last season to the date, was when the Warriors squared off with, and lost to, the Swift Current Broncos in game 7 of the first round.  A sold out Mosaic Place took in the first round series finale between the Warriors and Prince Albert Raiders.

The Warriors came out with an energy that’s been missing the last couple of games. Prince Albert came out of the gates with a similar energy as the home team. Early in the period the Warriors had a chance in close but weren’t able to capitalize. The Raiders won a faceoff in the Warriors end and managed to beat Warriors’ goalie Brody Willms to give the visitors a 1-0 lead at just under 2 minutes into the first period. The Raiders would make the Warriors pay with another goal on a turnover for a quick 2-0 lead for Prince Albert.

Moose Jaw responded with a push of their own to get on the scoreboard after Jayden Halbgewachs beat Ian Scott for his 2nd of the playoffs. After the faceoff at centre ice, the Warriors came back with another offensive attack. Prince Albert’s defenceman attempted to clear the puck but  it deflected off of a Raiders’ skate and got by Prince Albert goaltender Ian Scott. The goal was credited to Warriors’ Ryan Peckford for his 2nd of the postseason. Offsetting minor penalties to Warriors’ captain Brett Howden and the Raiders’ Zack Hayes had the teams battling 4 on 4. Less than a minute into the 4 on 4, Raiders forward Parker Kelly drove toward the Warriors net and put the put in the net past Brody Willms. The goal was under review but was determined to be a good goal. The tally gave the visitors a 3-2 lead with just over 7 minutes left in the opening frame.

Moose Jaw was given a power play with 2 minutes left in the opening period. The period would end with the Warriors on the man advantage. Shots after period 1 were 11-7 in favor of the Warriors.

The second period opened up with a more controlled pace from both teams. Moose Jaw controlled the play to begin the period. Continued pressure by Warriors youngster Tate Popple kept the Raiders pinned in their own end. A pass to the point resulted in the point shot being tipped passed Raiders’ goalie Ian Scott by Warriors’ Ryan Peckford for his 2nd of the night. The goal was under review due to a close high-stick tip in front of the net. The goal ended up being overturned. The Warriors continued the heavy fore-check on the Raiders defence.

Moose Jaw’s aggressive play would reward them with another power play. Moose Jaw’s power play went to work, keeping puck possession for the first part of the man advantage. An apparent high-stick was called on the Warriors ending the Warriors’ power play opportunity. Warriors goalie Brody Willms made a key save on the penalty kill. Teams weren’t giving each other much space on the ice. Prince Albert would be called on a high hit with 2:25 left in the 2nd period. The Warriors would go to work on the power play. Moose Jaw’s playoff sniper Justin Almeida capitalize for his 4th of the playoffs with a quick fire on net that beat Scott to tie the game 3-3.
Warriors’ defenceman Josh Brook stepped up for a hit but was given a tripping penalty. The warriors penalty killers were able to dump the puck down the ice a number of times to end the second period. Shots after the 2nd period were 18-15 in favor of Moose Jaw

Period three opened with the Warriors on the attack on the penalty kill. Moose Jaw managed to kill off the remaining time on Josh Brooks late 2nd period penalty with no damage done. The Warriors puck pursuit was on point to start the third frame. Moose Jaw’s pressure resulted in a Prince Albert penalty. 
The Warriors power play went to work on another man advantage, looking to take the lead. Prince Albert would get a bounce that led to a short handed break. Warriors’ defenceman Kale Clague was on the back-check and hooked the Raiders’ forward. The result of the play was a penalty shot. The breakaway would be turned away by Warriors’ goaltender Brody Willms as he caught a piece of the puck that made the initial shot ring on the post. Moose Jaw continued their power play. The advantage for the Warriors would be killed off by the Raiders. 
The home team kept on the gas, increasing their attack as the period went on. An early penalty for the Warriors on a delay of game would put the Warriors down a man. Prince Albert turned up the pressure which resulted in yet another penalty for the Warriors. Moose Jaw’s penalty kill came up big not giving up a goal on the 5 on 3. 
Moose Jaw would turn up the ice and put the attack on the Raiders. That attack provided the Warriors with a power play. Moose Jaw’s power play found the mark again. Once again, Justin Almeida put the Warriors ahead for his second of the night to give the Warriors a 4-3 lead. Moose Jaw continued to go to work, puck pressure by the Warriors made it tough for the Raiders to get an opportunity. After a questionable hit by a Prince Albert player, the Warriors were awarded another penalty with just over 4 minutes left in the period. Raiders forward broke then broke in, short-handed to tie the game. 
Moose Jaw kept on the attack and turned the table on the Raiders, Brayden Burke snapped a quick shot passed Scott to give the Warriors the lead 5-4 his 6th of the playoffs. Brody Willms came up with a huge save after the Warriors power play goal. The Warriors came back on another attack with Brayden Burke just missing the net. The Warriors continued on, plugging away as per final minutes of the game ticked off the clock. Moose Jaw managed to stave off the pressure from the Raiders in the final minutes.
The Win gives the Warriors a 4-3 series win over the Raiders. 
MJI’s Stars of the Game: 1st - Justin Almeida (MJ), 2nd - Braden Burke (MJ), 3rd - Ian Scott (PA)
Next action for our Warriors is Friday night when they host Game 1 of the 2nd round series against the Swift Current Broncos. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00AM.

Photo: Stephen Simon / Moose Jaw Warriors

Photo: Stephen Simon / Moose Jaw Warriors

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