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Warriors Go For Three In A Row

Warriors-Howden-Sep21Warriors 16-year-old rookie Brett Howden has six goals and nine points in 17 games this season.

A big week opens with a big game for the Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday night.

The tribe welcomes in the Edmonton Oil Kings to Mosaic Place on Wednesday night for the first of four games over the next five nights, including three on the road starting on Friday.

“Obviously the first game in four nights is a very big game, so we’re excited for it and we’re ready too,” said Brett Howden, the Warriors’ 16-year-old centre.

Moose Jaw lost their only meeting of the season with the Oil Kings, falling 3-1 in Edmonton last month, which was in the middle of a five-game losing skid for the Warriors.Warriors-Rodewald-Oct4-2Warriors forward Jack Rodewald has been extremely consistent so far this season, click here for more on his stellar start to the campaign.

That’s not the case for Moose Jaw right now as they enter the game on a two-game winning streak after scoring 11 goals in two games last week with wins over Seattle and Prince Albert.

After beating the Raiders 5-3 last Friday, the Warriors got the weekend off to get ready for their busy week ahead.  Howden said the team took full advantage of their Saturday and Sunday off.

“We’ve been quite busy over the past couple months to start the season, lots of games in very few nights, so this past weekend was very good to take off and now we’re back at it,” said Howden.

The Warriors played a tight game against the Oil Kings in their last meeting and know that they will need to be on top of their game to knock off the defending Memorial Cup champions.

“They’re a fast paced team, so we need to realize that be physical on them, but at the same time, last game we didn’t take any penalties on them, so that really helped,” said Howden.  “Just staying disciplined and working hard in winning every battle.  It’s going to be a good game and hopefully we’re successful in it.”

The Oil Kings are led by goalie Tristan Jarry, who made 24 saves in their first meeting of the season.  Howden said Jarry is like many top goalies and they need to make him uncomfortable to have success against him.

“Just crashing the net and getting pucks to the net,” said Howden.  “Getting a net presence in front of him, we need guys screening him so that he can’t see the puck because he’s a great goalie, so we’re going to try and create as much offence as we can.”

Moose Jaw has followed their game plan to a tee over the past two games and it’s paid off in two strong outings.  The team will look to continue that into this week, starting on Wednesday against the Oil Kings.

“We’re just all playing together, there’s nobody playing individually, everybody is playing for the team,” said Howden.  “We’re going to need the next few lines putting up some points, we can’t rely on our first line to do everything for us, but everybody’s playing well right now we’ve got to stay focused.”

The Warriors are starting to get healthier heading into the weekend with Austin Adam making his return to the lineup on Wednesday.  The team is also hoping to have goalie Zach Sawchenko back by the weekend.

The action starts at 7:00pm on Wednesday, the pre-game show hits the air on Country 100 at 6:40pm.

Warriors' Prospect Brook Returns Strong

Warriors-Brook-Hounds-Nov5Josh Brook in action with the Notre Dame Hounds at the Duncan McNeill Arena this season.

Josh Brook has a pretty big role in the future of the Moose Jaw Warriors, which worried many when he missed the first month of the season due to a back injury.

The 15-year-old defenceman has put those worries to rest however since returning to the Notre Dame Hounds' lineup at the end of October.

“I'm feeling good, starting to get back in shape and stuff, and feeling great,” said Brook, who was taken with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. “Just getting back in shape has been the biggest thing, skating and my normal day life.”

Brook opened his Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League season on October 28th and has since posted two goals and five points over eight games.

The best sign of his return to form came against the Moose Jaw Generals on November 5th, Brook took the puck in his own end, flew through the neutral zone and while cutting across the top of the slot, unleashed a wrist shot that most WHL goalies would have trouble stopping.

It was his first goal of the season and a highlight reel one at that against the team he expects to be sharing a home with next season.

“I'm really starting to be able to use my skating ability to create offence,” said Brook after that game. “I just need to keep my head up and watching for plays, and I'm working on that every day.”

Brook got his first taste of the WHL in August when he suited up for the Warriors in a pair of preseason contests after going through training camp with the team. He said that was an eye opening experience for him.

“It was a big confidence booster to see how much you have to improve to play at that level,” said Brook. “I need to get bigger and stronger to play with the older guys.

“I'm definitely feeling like if I keep working hard that I can push for a spot (on the team next season).”

Brook should get a chance to show what he can do with the Warriors at some point during the regular season this year as well. He's eligible to play up to five games before the end of his midget AAA season and with Notre Dame being a stone throw away from Moose Jaw, Brook said he's looking forward to it if that opportunity comes.

“It's great that I'm that close and hopefully I get a chance,” he said.

Following in the footsteps of Morgan Rielly, Brook is playing with the storied Hounds program after spending his bantam season there as well. He loves being able to focus on hockey at the school in Wilcox.

“It's definitely nice to have the atmosphere here, it's all hockey all the time,” Brook said. “I feel like I'm improving every day.”

Brook and the Hounds are back in action on Thursday when they host the Swift Current Legionnaires at the Duncan McNeill Arena.

Consistency Driving Warriors Leaders

Warriors-PointRodewald-Sep5Brayden Point carries the puck into the zone with Jack Rodewald close behind, the two linemates sit 1-2 on the Warriors in scoring and are tied for the team lead in goals with Tanner Eberle.

As expected, it's been the Brayden Point and Jack Rodewald show for the Moose Jaw Warriors this season.

The top line pairing has produced night in and night out for the Warriors and it's starting to show in WHL scoring leaders with both players moving up the leaderboard.

After last Friday's three-point night, Rodewald has moved into a tie for fourth in the league in scoring with 28 in 20 games, while Point sits two points back in a tie for 12th with 26 in 19 games.

“I'm not focusing too much on it, but I'm obviously really happy,” said Rodewald after Monday's practice at Mosaic Place. “Brayden and I have been doing really well together and feeding off each other, so I just hope it continues.”

The duo of Rodewald and Point has been together for almost an entire calendar year now. The pairing has had a rotating cast of left wingers during that time, but it hasn't effected their play as their chemistry seems to continue growing with each game.

“We're good friends off the ice, in the locker room we're really good friends, so I just have fun playing with him,” said Rodewald of his centre. “He's an exciting guy to play with and even more to watch, so it's been real good for both of us.”

Rodewald was acquired by the Warriors from the Regina Pats for fellow forward Carter Hansen, a tenth overall pick that hadn't panned out. Rodewald came to Moose Jaw without much fanfare, but no Warrior fan would want a redo on the trade now as Rodewald has blossomed into a high calibre power forward.

It's been a building process for the 20-year-old over the past two seasons to get his game to the level that he wanted.

“Last year, coming off a strong end, I gained a little more confidence and then coming back from Buffalo (Sabres training camp), I thought that helped a lot with my confidence,” said Rodewald. “Things have just been going my way lately and it's even better when we get the two points.”

While just now starting to creep onto the WHL scoring leaderboard, Rodewald has been hot right from the start and hasn't let up.

He has registered a point in all but two games this season.

“I'm just trying to go out there every game and not really worry about points, I'm just trying to help the team out and contribute,” said Rodewald, who has 11 goals and 17 assists in 20 games.

It's that kind of consistency that has head coach Tim Hunter pointing to Rodewald, and Point, as examples for the younger players on the Warriors on how to play the game.

“They're almost professional with how they approach the game, both on and off the ice, in games and in practices as well,” said Hunter. “As they go, the team goes and they get a lot of attention from the other team's top checkers, it's a hard night for them when they play, but we can't always count on them, we need secondary scoring and have to look down the line to get it.”

Hunter hasn't given it any thought about breaking the tandem up to spread the scoring out a bit.

“They seem to see the game the same and both being right handed, they play very similar,” said Hunter. “Both great on the rush, creating scoring opportunities and they both have a great shot.”

The Warriors will be hoping to seem more points coming from the duo as the season progresses, and especially this week with four games in five nights on the way, starting on Wednesday with Edmonton at Mosaic Place.

Injury News:

-- Goalie Zach Sawchenko skated for about a half hour on Monday, but is still listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury. Hunter said the team is aiming to have him back in the lineup for the weekend's three-in-three Central Division road trip

-- Defenceman Austin Adam will return to the lineup on Wednesday from a shoulder injury that has caused him to miss 17 games since suffering the injury on September 27th against Saskatoon.

Warriors Pick Up Road Win In PA

Warriors-Raiders-Oct15-4

A solid team effort and two goals in less than two minutes in the second period lifted the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 5-3 win over the Raiders Friday in Prince Albert, improving their record to 9-10-1-1.

Prince Albert’s fore-check started strong, pinning the Warriors inside their line early in the hockey game.  97 seconds in to the period the Raiders pushed the puck towards the Moose Jaw net, no one was able to clear the puck which allowed Gage Quinney to tap it in to give them an early lead.

As the period went on the Warriors got better, they came up the ice with speed, they had extended time in the attacking zone, and the majority of their ten first period shots were quality scoring opportunities.

With just over a minute remaining in the frame Jack Rodewald fed Brayden Point going through the middle of the ice across the Prince Albert line.  Point undressed the Raiders defenceman then beat Nick McBride for a highlight reel goal to even the game at one.

Moose Jaw kept the pace high to start the second, at 8:47 Jaimen Yakubowski straddled the Raiders blue line then put a wrist shot on to the pads of the goalie.  The rebound was left in the crease where Point directed it in for his second of the game to put Moose Jaw on top.

Trailing by one, Prince Albert was able to create scoring opportunities as they outshot the tribe 16-8 in the period.  At 13:03, Brendan Guhle charged towards the Moose Jaw net, Justin Paulic poked the puck of his stick but it went right to Tim Vanstone who was able to tie the game at two.

Two minutes after the Raiders goal the Warriors forced a loose puck high along their boards.  Tanner Eberle came in to the neutral zone and spotted Tyler Brown at the Raiders line.  Eberle went tape-to-tape to Brown, springing the defenceman on a breakaway where his shot found twine to put Moose Jaw back up by one.

Less than two minutes later Point created a turnover high in the Prince Albert zone, Rodewald jumped on the puck and stormed down the right wing.  He connected with Eberle driving through the middle of the ice where he chipped the puck in for his tenth of the year to make it 4-2 Moose Jaw going in to the second intermission.

Prince Albert outshot the Warriors 10-4 in the final period but Warriors goalie Justin Paulic held his ground, keeping them off the scoreboard for the majority of the frame.

With just over ninety seconds left in the game the Raiders pulled their goalie for an extra attacker.  With the puck along the Moose Jaw boards they chipped it towards the net where Reid Gardiner worked it past Paulic to pull Prince Albert to within one.

That would be as close the Raiders would get, Eberle scored his second of the game in to an empty net to seal the Moose Jaw win.

Eberle and Point finished with two goals and three points each, Jack Rodewald had three assists, and Paulic made 29 saves.

Moose Jaw has the rest of the weekend off, they’re not back in action until Wednesday, November 19th when they host the defending Memorial Cup Champion Edmonton Oil Kings.  After that game the team will head to Alberta for another Central Division three-in-three road trip November 21st to 23rd.

Moose Jaw Starters: G-Justin Paulic, D-Alexey Sleptsov & Tyler Brown, LW-Jaimen Yakubowski, C-Brayden Point, RW-Jack Rodewald

Moose Jaw Scratches: Noah Gregor, Torrin White, Austin Adam, Reid Zalitach, Zach Sawchenko

Prince Albert Starters: G-Nick McBride, D-Josh Morrissey & Hunter Warner, LW-Craig Leverton, C-Jordan Tkatch, RW-Jayden Hart

Prince Albert Scratches: Curtis Roach

Warriors Head Into Prince Albert

Warriors-Perillat-Nov12Dustin Perillat celebrates after scoring his first WHL goal on Wednesday against Seattle. (Photo: Stephen Simon/MJ Warriors)

The injuries on the back end for the Moose Jaw Warriors has opened up the opportunity for the team to get a look at two late cuts from this year's squad.

17-year-old Dustin Perillat and 16-year-old Colin Paradis were added to the team last week and have seen some action over the past three games and will no doubt again on Friday night when the Warriors travel to Prince Albert.

The two young defencemen have held their own when in the lineup over the three games, including Perillat getting his first WHL goal during Wednesday night's 6-2 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds.

“It was real exciting and it was a big confidence booster for me personally,” said Perillat after practice on Thursday. “It's just what I needed for my play.”

Perillat looked strong during Wednesday's outing, his second since being called up from the SJHL's Flin Flon Bombers. Perillat has even seen some time on the second power play unit during his stint with the tribe.

“I'm playing good, but there's always room for improvement,” Perillat said. “I just need to do the little things right, be calm out there and just play my game.”

In 11 games with the Bombers before coming to Moose Jaw, Perillat posted two goals and four points.

His speed and skating is one of his strongest attributes and Perillat has been showing more and more of that over the course of the past week. He said he's becoming more comfortable with the jump from Junior A to Major Junior.

“As each games goes on, I'm building more confidence,” Perillat said. “I'm working hard towards playing to my full potential, so it's been good, but there's always room for improvement.

“(SJHL) has prepared me well for the WHL. It's been good in Flin Flon.”

Perillat and the Warriors prepare for a trip into Prince Albert on Friday night to face the Raiders for the fourth time this season.

The Warriors have went 1-1-1 against the Raiders so far this season, including a 6-3 loss on Halloween at Mosaic Place.

“We need to come out with a good jump right from the start,” said Perillat. “We just need to focus on playing a full sixty minutes... We're going to have to be focused mentally because it's a big one for us.”

Moose Jaw is coming off a 6-2 win over Seattle on Wednesday night, while the Raiders have dropped three straight games after getting beat 8-3 on Wednesday by the Regina Pats.

This is the lone game this weekend for the Warriors as they don't return to the ice until Wednesday when the Edmonton Oil Kings are in town

The Warriors and Raiders hit the ice in Prince Albert at 7:00pm, you can catch the Country 100 Pre-Game Show, starting at 6:40pm.

Warriors High on Hockey Canada List

Warriors-Point-Sep26-2Warriors captain Brayden Point is getting strong consideration for the Canadian World Junior team.

A couple of Moose Jaw Warriors are getting high praise from Hockey Canada.

The top brass from Hockey Canada were in Moose Jaw on Wednesday night for the Warriors meeting with the Seattle Thunderbirds. During his appearance on Country 100, Ryan Jankowski, head scout for Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence, had glowing reviews of Brayden Point and Zach Sawchenko.

Both players have been in the Hockey Canada program for the past few years with Point getting consideration for the World Junior team this year and Sawchenko coming off a gold medal performance at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup this summer.

Jankowski is impressed with what both players bring on and off the ice.

“More than anything else, it's his compete, his determination and how hard he plays every night,” said Jankowski on Point. “When you think about Brayden, it's easy to lose him in the shuffle because he's not the biggest guy, he's not the fastest skater in the world, but when you come watch Brayden play, he never gives you an opportunity to cross his name off the list.

Ryan Jankowski, head scout for Hockey Canada, sits down with James Gallo and Derek Kletzel on Country 100.

“That's what makes Brayden really, really special, on top of him being a great person and leader for the Moose Jaw Warriors.”

Point is coming off a strong two-game performance in the CHL Subway Super Series where he was described by TSN's Bob McKenzie as the best player on the ice during Monday's game in Saskatoon.

The speedy forward posted an assist and a shootout goal in that game and then followed it up with another solid game the next night in Brandon.

The biggest thing that stood out to Jankowski and Hockey Canada was that Point excelled while moving from his natural position at centre onto the wing.

“It shows that he can play out of his comfort zone and he can play any position and that's extremely valuable to us at the end of the day,” said Jankowski. “Any player that can play out of their position a little bit gives them a little bit more flexibility to be able to use them.”

Sawchenko, 16, is still a few years away from being in the World Junior conversation like Point, but he's definitely on the radar for that tournament.

“The success that he had for Team Pacific last year at the Under-17s, following that up with our Under-18s this summer, we're excited about Zach,” said Jankowski. “We like his style of game, he's very athletic, you can see his focus, but on top of that, he's a tremendous kid.

“I'm really excited for the plans in the future for Zach with our program as long as he continues to go the way that he's going.”

The Hockey Canada brass were in town looking at Point and Seattle Thunderbirds defenceman Shea Theodore, who are both strong candidates for the World Juniors. They were hoping to catch Sawchenko in action as well with Hockey Canada goaltending consultant Fred Brathwaite in attendance, but Sawchenko missed the game with a lower body injury.

“The better part of tonight is that he's going to be able to spend some time with Zach, talk to him and get to know him a little bit better,” said Jankowski.

There will be some tough decisions ahead for Hockey Canada as they move towards the World Junior camp in December. Warrior fans can celebrate that they will have some of their own in the conversation over the next few years.

Warriors Ground Thunderbirds 6-2

Warriors-Seattle-Nov12-3Warriors forward Tanner Jeannot fights off a check from Seattle forward Calvin Spencer. (Photo: Stephen Simon/MJ Warriors)

Six goals for six different players and stellar goaltending from Justin Paulic helped the Moose Jaw Warriors get back into the win column on Wednesday night.

The Warriors fell behind early, but then flew past the Seattle Thunderbirds in a 6-2 win at Mosaic Place, snapping a two-game losing streak. Paulic earned his first win of the season in the game, stopping 31 of 33 shots, while filling in for the injured Zach Sawchenko.

“It's definitely been a lot longer than anticipated, but it's good to get the win and now just keeping working from here,” said Paulic after the game, his record improved to 1-4-1 on the year.

“That's a kid that works so hard every day whether its a game or a practice, and to have to wait this long for a little bit of support and a big win is tough,” said Mark O'Leary, assistant coach of the Warriors. “Credit to Justin, you would never know it to see him everyday, he just goes about his business and he's certainly deserving of this one.”

In his five previous starts this season, Paulic hasn't seen much goal support and like a top pitcher without run support, that can make a goalie ineffective. After just six goals were scored by the Warriors in his first five starts this season, the tribe potted six to make the night a little easier on the 19-year-old goaltender.

Paulic made some big saves to help out his own cause as well and swing the momentum in Moose Jaw's favour.

“You can't argue with the team getting a lot of goals, so that was definitely nice,” said Paulic. “It makes it a lot easier to play when you get that goal support, so that was definitely big for me.”

The Warriors started the game slow with Seattle jumping out to an early lead on a goal by Alexander True just 4:03 into the game. The Thunderbirds continued to control the play after that, but some adjustments to the Warriors' transition game out of the zone allowed them to get back into the contest.

“I thought we made a real good adjustment as a team to get back to pucks a little bit quicker and that's the whole five-man unit that we need,” said O'Leary. “Certainly our defence back in a hurry to get the puck, but our forwards as well coming back through the middle and being available for the defencemen.”

Jiri Smejkal got Moose Jaw on the board 5:23 to go in the opening frame, scoring his first WHL goal.

A hot start to the second period allowed the Warriors to build up a 4-1 lead thanks to goals from Kolten Olynek, Jack Rodewald and Brayden Point in the first 9:06 of the period.

The Warriors closed out the win with goals from Brett Howden and Dustin Perillat just 56 seconds apart in the third period. The Howden goal came just nine seconds after Nick Holowko pulled Seattle within two and served as a nail in the coffin for the Thunderbirds.

Moose Jaw's power play didn't score in three chances, but changed the momentum in the first period with some good pressure. The Warriors' penalty kill was 5-for-6 on the night and also provided a spark with two 5-on-3 kills.

“After the first couple power plays in the first period, we struggled to enter the zone, but once we got rolling and we started to control pucks and make plays, I thought our power play was a good momentum shift for us,” added O'Leary.

The win starts of the week on a good note for Warriors after two losses to the Medicine Hat Tigers last weekend. The team will now look to carry over the play to Prince Albert on Friday.

Smejkal Scores First WHL Goal

After getting multiple chances through his first 19 WHL games, import forward Jiri Smejkal finally found the back of the net on Wednesday night.

His first WHL goal came at a crucial point in the first period, just after the Warriors ended a power play opportunity with a number of quality chances.

“I feel so good,” said a smiling Smejkal after the game. “Drought for me was too many games, pretty long, but I'm happy that we win and it's a nice feeling.”

The Czech Republic native had been around the net a lot during the first part of the season, but couldn't find a way to finish on his chances. He made no mistake on Wednesday night.

“I'm not used to waiting long for goal, but now I'm happy and I hope I can score next game,” added the 18-year-old.

Smejkal has one goal and six points in 19 games.

Neuls Returns to Mosaic Place

Wednesday was a bit different of a night for Seattle Thunderbirds forward Donovan Neuls. He hadn't been a visitor before at Mosaic Place after starring for two seasons with the Moose Jaw Generals.

Now in his first season with the Thunderbirds, Neuls said it was a different experience coming into Moose Jaw.

“Even the side of the ice you're on in warmups,” he said. “Being used to the home side and then having to play on the visitors side.”

The 17-year-old was hoping for a better end result for his team, but he enjoyed getting to play in front of some familiar faces for a night.

“Obviously the score didn't turn out the way that we wanted to, but it was nice coming back to see all the guys and the coaching staff of the Generals,” said Neuls.

Neuls, from Grenfell, Sask., has posted one goal and four points in 19 games this season. He had a great chance to add to that total late in the third period, but was robbed by a diving Justin Paulic.

“When I got the puck on my stick I was more nervous than anything,” said Neuls. “I thought I had more time, but he came across pretty well, so I've got to give credit to him for making a pretty good save.”

With 19 games under his belt, Neuls added that he's starting to settling into playing at the WHL-level.

“It took me a while, especially at camp, but I'm slowing getting there,” he said. “You've just got to keep working and eventually it will come... Definitely the speed and the systems (have taken some getting use to), it's just a little bit faster than midget AAA.”

Warriors’ Point Happy With Super Series

Warriors-Point-SuperSeries-Nov10-1Brayden Point carries the puck for Team WHL during Monday's Super Series game in Saskatoon.

Each year, Hockey Canada uses the CHL’s Super Series as one of the steps in evaluating talent from across the country for the World Junior team.  

With that being the case, Moose Jaw Warriors captain Brayden Point just put together a strong argument over the past two nights to be on that team.

Point posted one assist, a shootout goal and a minus-one rating for Team WHL in two games against Team Russia during the opening two games of the Super Series on Monday and Tuesday.

“Maybe I’m in the conversation (for the World Junior team), I’m not too sure yet, I’m not too worried about it,” said Point after Tuesday’s game in Brandon.  “I’m happy with my play and I’m proud of myself, so whatever happens, I’ve got no regrets.”

Team WHL dropped both games to open the six-game Super Series, falling 3-2 in a shootout on Monday in Saskatoon and then dropping a 3-2 contest Tuesday at Westman Place.

Point was a factor in both games, generating scoring chances and seeing his ice time increase throughout the two games.  He’s coming away pleased with what he was able to accomplish in his first trip to the Super Series.

“I felt more comfortable (Tuesday), just more confident in myself,” said Point.  “It’s pretty easy playing with a guy like (Nic) Petan and (Jake) Virtanen and (Cole) Ully.”

Normally a centre, Point spent the two Super Series games on the wing.  Showing he can move to the wing is big for the speedy forward as Canada is deep down the middle for the World Juniors and the wing might present Point with his best chance of making the team.

After a shaky first shift on Monday, Point settled into the spot over the next two nights and was one of Team WHL’s best players in the two games.

“I felt more comfortable,” said Point.  “The first game it was my first time playing the wing in a while, so there was some changes and it was a little bit uncomfortable, but then I started to do my thing and I was confident.”

Going from playing on the Warriors to playing with the top players from around the WHL and against the Russians, Point didn’t seem to miss a beat.  He played a consistent game that Warrior fans are use to seeing night in and night out.

The fact that it didn’t change with the step up in play should be an encouraging factor for Hockey Canada.

“I like to think of myself as a consistent player,” said Point.  “It’s easy to work hard, it’s not a skill set, so I like to think of myself as a hard working player.”

As for the games, Team WHL controlled the play both nights, out-shooting the Russians 36-15 on Monday night and 36-18 on Tuesday.  However, they had trouble solving the two Russian netminders. 

“We carried most of the play and had some good scoring chances, but the bounces didn’t go our way tonight,” said Point.

Russia carried a 2-0 lead into the third period thanks to goals from Pavel Kraskovsky and Andrey Alexeev, despite being out-shot 25-10 in the first two periods on Tuesday.

Victoria defenceman Joe Hicketts got Team WHL on the board early in the third period with a blast from the point.

Kraskovsky’s second goal, and third point of the game, restored the two-goal lead for Russia with 5:59 to go in the game.  Conner Bleackley scored for Team WHL 45 seconds later, but they couldn’t find the equalizer.

“It’s always fun playing Russia and playing with the best calibre guys in our league is always a treat,” he added.  “It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun with it.

“Any time you get to have an experience like this one, it can only help you going forward, so just try to bring some things that I learned from that coaching staff and the guys there that can help Moose Jaw.”

Point returns to the Moose Jaw lineup on Wednesday night with the Warriors hosting the Seattle Thunderbirds at Mosaic Place.  The Pre-Game Show hits the air at 6:40pm on Country 100.

Howden Returns From U17s; Warriors Host Seattle

Warriors-Howden-U17-Nov3Brett Howden might not have a medal, but he isn’t coming back to the Moose Jaw Warriors empty handed after a trip to the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Howden played well for Canada White, gaining experience and confidence from his first taste of international hockey.

“I just feel like I’ve gained some confidence going out there and getting back to my game,” said Howden, who will be back in the Warriors’ lineup on Wednesday night against Seattle.  “I feel like I’m going to carry that over here and bring it onto the ice (with the Warriors).”

Going against the best players in the world at his age group, Howden said he saw what you need to do to be successful at the top level of the game.

“You need to play hard every shift, just competing,” said Howden.  “You take a shift off and it can be in the back of your net, so the biggest thing I learned from there was just competing every shift as hard as you can.”

Canada White finished in fifth place, but were the highest placing Canadian team after all three lost in the quarterfinals.  

It was the first year for the new national team format for Canada at the World Under-17s, Howden said the finish was the lone disappointing part of the experience.

“Obviously that’s not what we went there for, but in the end, it was a great experience,” the Warriors’ 16-year-old centre said.  “You’re playing against guys from all over the world, so it was a great experience and hopefully I get the chance to do it again.”

Instead of five regional teams, Canada used three teams made up of players from across the country.  It didn’t work out so well, but Howden said it gave them a good idea of what it’s like to play for Canada on the international level.

“There’s obviously that bit of pressure that you need to do well, especially because they’re starting a new program there and we were the first to try it out,” said Howden.  “Obviously it’s frustrating that nobody got past the quarterfinals, but we all worked hard and that’s all you can ask really.”

“It was a great format, you got to meet a lot of new guys, you’re just not playing with guys the west and which region you’re from,” he added.  “It was a great experience and I met a lot of new guys from out east.”

After going 2-1 during the round robin, Canada White lost out to Sweden 2-0 in the quarterfinals, but finished strong with a 3-2 overtime win over Canada Red in the fifth place game.

Howden posted a solid finish to the tournament as well, scoring the game-tying goal late in the second period and then tipped in the game-winner in the first overtime period.

“It was a good way to end, I was kind of hoping that would have came earlier,” said Howden.  “I played hard throughout the tournament, but it just came in that last game.”

Being one of the bigger players in his age group, Howden was able to use his size to his advantage during the tournament and will now look to bring that back with him to the WHL.

“I’m trying to use my body my advantage, but there’s still some big guys out there, so just out working them and competing hard is how you’re going to win,” he said.

Howden returns to the Warriors’ lineup on Wednesday night against the Seattle Thunderbirds as the team looks to return to the win column after two losses to Medicine Hat on the weekend.

With the team struggling to pick-up wins over the past few weeks, Howden said they need to have a strong next three days to ensure they get back on track.

“We’ve got one game Wednesday and one game Friday, so those are two big games that we need to win,” he said.  “We need to come out strong and be crisp.”

The Warriors and Thunderbirds hit the ice on Wednesday night at 7:00pm, you can catch all the action live on Country 100, starting with the Pre-Game Show at 6:40pm.

Warriors Without Sawchenko… 16-year-old goalie Zach Sawchenko will be out of the lineup on Wednesday when the Warriors take on the Seattle Thunderbirds.  He suffered a lower body injury on Saturday in Medicine Hat and is listed as day-to-day.  The team has called up Brody Willms, 16, to fill in with Sawchenko out.  Expect Justin Paulic to get his first start in six games on Wednesday.

Team WHL Falls To Russians in SO

Warriors-Point-SuperSeries-Nov10-3Brayden Point lifts the puck over the leg of Russian goalie Denis Kostin, who came in for the shootout, during Monday's CHL Super Series game in Saskatoon.

Brayden Point got stronger as the game went on and so did Team WHL, but they couldn’t finish it off in the end. 

The Russians out lasted a team of WHL all-stars during an 11-round shootout to take game one of the CHL Super Series, 3-2, on Monday night in Saskatoon.

Vladimir Bryukvin scored Team Russia’s fourth goal of the shootout to propel them to the win over Team WHL.

Point scored in the shootout and assisted on Team WHL’s second goal by Cole Ully late in the third period, which put them up 2-1 with 2:25 to go in the game.

“It was fun, it was a lot of fun,” said Point after the game.  “When you’re playing with the kind of guys you’re playing with, it’s nothing but fun.

“It was cool to get on the score sheet and I was happy when I got my name called for the shootout because its fun to shoot in those.”

Point played right wing the majority of the night on a line with Nic Petan at centre and Ully at left wing.  They provided a lot of speed and skill, and they started clicking more and more as the game moved on.

“It was tough to get the nerves out (on the first shift), playing wing is a little new to, but I thought I had a pretty good game after that first shift,” said the Warriors captain.  

“It’s pretty easy playing with the kind of guys I was playing with, Ully and Petan, they’re really good players, so it’s pretty easy.  It’s just a different game on the wing and I had to adjust to what I was doing in the D zone.”

The Super Series games are used by Hockey Canada to identify players for the World Junior team.  With the depth that Canada has at centre this year with Sam Reinhart returning from the NHL, Point may have to look to the wing to crack the team.

“I’m not really thinking about that when I’m on the ice,” Point said.  “Just trying to have some fun and enjoy the experience.”

Russia opened the scoring in the first minute of the game when Alexander Bryntsev got a point shot through on Tri-City goalie Eric Comrie.  Team WHL answered back with 55 seconds to go in the opening frame when Jake Virtanen found the back of the net.

Team WHL had numerous chances to take the lead in the second and throughout much of the third period, but Igor Shetyorkin turned aside 34-of-36 shots in regulation.

After Ully gave Team WHL a 2-1 lead with under three minutes to go, Russia’s Konstantin Okulov responded with a game-tying goal just 1:08 later to even the score at 2-2 and forced the game into the shootout.

Point was the fourth shooter for Team WHL in the shootout and scored on a backhand to make it 2-1 in the shootout, but Russia’s Ivan Fishchenko scored on the next shot to tie before the eventual win six shooters later.

“They’re big and physical and they played us hard, but I thought we answered well,” said Point after Monday’s game.  “A late goal is tough, but overall, I thought we had a pretty good game.”

The final game between the WHL and Russia goes on Tuesday in Brandon before the six-game series shifts over to the Ontario Hockey League.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun when we’re in Brandon, it’s suppose to be a sold out crowd, so it’s going to be good.”

The Warriors return to the ice on Wednesday against the Seattle Thunderbirds at Mosaic Place.