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Point Keeps Getting Better for Warriors

Warriors Point Oct15Warriors captain Brayden Point had 38 goals and 87 points in 60 games this season.

Brayden Point's exploits on the ice are well known. He's led the Moose Jaw Warriors over the past three seasons and put up some historic numbers.

This season saw another side of Point come more to the forefront as he showed off his leadership abilities after being named captain at the start of the season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick led by example to start, but developed into a more vocal leader as the season progressed, culminating in the Warriors' push for the playoffs at the end of the season.

Warriors head coach Tim Hunter feels that Point's experience with Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship helped him develop into a well rounded leader for the second half of the season.

“For Brayden to go and experience what he did at the World Junior Championships was tremendous and to follow that up by coming back here to play some good hockey,” said Hunter. “He learned from some great leaders at the World Juniors, so it's a really exciting time for him and I look forward to the next step with Brayden Point.”

Point continues to put up outstanding numbers for the Warriors. He set a new career-high in goals with 38 this season and his 87 points came within four points of his career-high despite playing 12 less games this season.

The Calgary, AB native was especially effective since returning from the World Juniors as he posted 43 points in 31 games over the final three months of the regular season. He scored in 13 of his final 14 games to end the regular season.

“I thought I had a pretty good yea, obviously there's some things that you want to do better throughout the year, but overall it was good,” said Point. “The World Junior experience was awesome and now I've just got to do it all again next year.”

As the accolades on the ice continue to pour in, Point is proud of the way he was able to develop as a leader for the Warriors this season in his first as captain.

“At the start of the year, it was a little nerve-racking, obviously there's more pressure, but as the year moved on, I was able to embrace it more and I felt I was more vocal in the room,” said Point. “It's definitely something that I'll try to keep learning, but going up at the next level and seeing how those guys play and seeing the leaders there, hopefully I can learn something.”

The Warriors, and Point, were blessed with having three 20-year-olds that brought plenty of experience to the table and all three served as assistant captains during the season. Hunter said they were key for helping Point in his first season as captain.

“As a coach I couldn't have asked for three 20-year-olds to help Brayden,” said Hunter. “They're all different guys, they all played differently and they were able to help (Point) with all their experience and all the different attributes that they bring to the table.”

Point and the Warriors are hoping that the experience that he and the team gained throughout the season will help them as they look to return to the post-season in 2015-16.

“We've got a great group of young guys, we've got two good young goalies and we were missing Noah Gregor, who's another great young player for us, so he'll definitely help us,” said Point. “They played well and they're going to be another older and another better, so it's looking good.”

Draft Lottery on Wednesday... The Moose Jaw Warriors will be keeping a close eye on Calgary on Wednesday as the WHL holds their annual draft lottery. The Warriors hold two picks in the top-six, theirs and the Kamloops Blazers' acquired in the Joel Edmundson trade. The lottery goes at 3:00pm on Wednesday. Follow @MarcSmith18 on Twitter for updates.

Warriors' 20-Year-Olds Wrap-Up Stellar Careers

Warriors 20yos Mar24Jack Rodewald, left, Tanner Eberle and Jaimen Yakubowski all wrapped up their WHL careers over the weekend.

The Western Hockey League careers of three players came to a close over the weekend when the Moose Jaw Warriors were eliminated from post-season contention during game 72.

All three players played a key role for the tribe during the 2014-15 season and will leave big holes to fill heading into the offseason.

Tanner Eberle, Jack Rodewald and Jaimen Yakubowski all served as assistant captains with the Warriors, while Rodewald and Eberle sat in second and third on the team in goals with 36 and 33 respectively.

Their leadership and consistency were a big part of the Warriors' success this season.

Eberle Bleeds for Warriors

Tanner Eberle spent all four of his years in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors.

He joined the team as a 17-year-old after being taken with Moose Jaw's last pick, 154th overall, in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft. Eberle has laid it all on the line as a Warrior since then.

“Nothing but good things to say about the organization and the fan support here,” said Eberle, who played in 270 games with the Warriors.

“You don't see many guys in the league stick with one team for their whole career. I'm lucky enough to play on one team my whole career, so that's something special.”

Warrior fans saw Eberle develop from an energy role player during his first few seasons into a well rounded player over his final two years with the tribe. Eberle set career-highs for goals with 33 and points with 56 during his 20-year-old season.

“I've just been improving every season with point totals and goal totals and stuff like that,” said Eberle. “In my 20-year-old season I was still able to bring that energy, but finding the back of the net a lot more, which is a good thing.”

Eberle finished his career with 80 goals, 92 assists, 172 points and 406 penalty minutes and while his contributions on the ice have grown each year, so has his presences as a leader.

He credited with the players he played with in his early years with helping him mature.

“My first year I had some of the best role models that I've ever seen,” said Eberle. “Just living with Kendall McFaull, give him a lot of credit for the way I am now because he was a big part of it. Captain Kendall just always taking care of me, he's been a big role model for me.”

Now that his WHL career is over, Eberle has his sights set on heading pro. He's attended Montreal Canadiens camp over the past two seasons and is looking at his options right now for joining an AHL or ECHL team.Warriors Rodewald Mar20Rodewald celebrates a goal during his final home game with the Warriors on Friday night.

Rodewald Grows with Warriors

Not much was known about Jack Rodewald when he was acquired by the Moose Jaw Warriors from the Regina Pats in a trade straight up for former top pick Carter Hansen.

Fans know about Jack Rodewald now after he put together two stellar seasons with the tribe, setting a career-high in goals, assists and points in each of the past two seasons. Rodewald put together a great final season with 35 goals, 50 assists and 85 points in 71 games.

“Moose Jaw has been awesome, it was definitely the change I needed,” said Rodewald. “I've stayed with great billets the last two seasons, I've had two great coaches to be coached by and I've enjoyed playing with all the guys here.”

After spending his first two seasons battling for ice time with the Pats, since day one in Moose Jaw, Rodewald has slotted into the right wing spot on the top line with star centre Brayden Point.

He's taken full advantage going from 26 points in 124 games with Regina to 140 points in 129 games with the Warriors.

“I definitely wanted to come in and finish strong in my final year,” said Rodewald. “It's been awesome (playing with Point). To play alongside him and just to feed off the talent that he has is a really special thing.”

The foundation for Rodewald's success has been building over his 255 games in the WHL. He pointed to the captains that he's had along the way as helping shape him into a better person and player.

“My first year I had Brandon Davidson as a captain and he was somebody that I really looked up to,” said Rodewald. “Just continuing down the line, it's just older guys who've helped me and I've tried to take a little bit from them.”

Rodewald added that he has now tried to pass that along during his final WHL season.

The skilled power forward is hoping that his playing days aren't over as he has his sights set on moving on to pro hockey. Rodewald said his agent has been in contact with some teams and expects to hear something in the coming days.

Yakubowski Comes Home for Finish

Jaimen Yakubowski has had quite the WHL career has he's played for three different teams in three different divisions and in two countries.

The Dalmeny, Saskatchewan native started his four-year WHL career with the Lethbridge Hurricanes as a 17-year-old. He had his most productive season as an 18-year-old in Lethbridge with 32 goals and 50 points in 66 games in 2012-13.

Last year was split between the Hurricanes and Seattle Thunderbirds, but while enjoying each stop, Yakubowski said he was really happy to be able to come to Moose Jaw this year and finish his career close to home.Warriors Yakubowski Oct4Yakubowski breaks up ice during action at Mosaic Place this season.

“It's been a fun time, I've got to play on three different teams that were really great,” said Yakubowski. “Can't have anything better to say about the Warriors, it was great getting to play here and also throughout my career, it's been great to play in the Western League.

“Getting to come back home here for my last year in Saskatchewan was awesome and it worked out well.

“We've got a great group of guys here, great coaching staff, GM, front office, all have treated me top notch and I think that goes for the other guys too, nothing bad to say about this place.”

Yakubowski was a key part of the Warriors' leadership group this season and provided a steady option offensively with nine goals and 26 points in 55 games.

He battled a shoulder injury throughout the second half of the year that finally broke down late in the season when he opted for surgery on Friday.

He said his 247 games in the WHL flew by.

“It feels like it was yesterday I was a 17-year-old in the league in Lethbridge,” said Yakubowski. “In the moment it feels like it might be going slow, but then at the end of each year, you're kind of wowed by how fast it goes by, especially this year, it's been crazy.”

Yakubowski added that his focus right now is on getting healthy, but he's received offers from post-secondary schools to join them next season and will weigh his options over the summer.

Warriors Disappointed But Positive (VIDEO)

Warriors Salute Mar24The Moose Jaw Warriors salute the fans at Mosaic Place following their final home game on Friday, which they won 7-6 in overtime over Brandon.

The Moose Jaw Warriors weren't happy about having to clean out their lockers on Monday at Mosaic Place. It meant another season outside of the post-season, but the tribe was encouraged by what they were able to accomplish this season.

DiscoverMooseJaw's Marc Smith was at the rink on Monday to get reaction from the team as they headed into another offseason without a playoff berth and the mood was positive after a late season playoff push that ended up being one game short.

Warriors' Season Comes to a Close

Warriors Howden Nov12

Moose Jaw’s season came to an end Saturday with a 9-2 loss to the WHL, Eastern Conference, and East Division champion Brandon Wheat Kings.

After putting on a show Friday in Moose Jaw, the Warriors and Wheat Kings established a quick pace that produced plenty of scoring opportunities in the first period Saturday.

Ten minutes in to the game Brandon rookie forward Nolan Patrick led a rush up the ice on the right wing.  Patrick passed the puck to Morgan Klimchuk at the Moose Jaw left circle, the former Regina Pat then placed the puck on the stick of Macoy Erkamps driving the Warriors net where he scored the game’s first goal.

Warriors' assistant coach Mark O'Leary joins James Gallo on the Country 100 Post-Game Show following Saturday's season-ending loss to Brandon.

Moose Jaw had a golden opportunity to tie the game shorty after.  With Brandon pressing Jack Rodewald used the Warriors boards to poke the puck around the Wheat Kings defenceman.  Rodewald then corralled the puck in the neutral zone and fed Captain Brayden Point for a breakaway.  The Warriors leading scorer beat goalie Jordan Papirny but unfortunately couldn’t beat the iron, as the puck clanged off the post keeping Brandon in the lead.

With just over five minutes remaining in the first the Warriors were given the first power play of the game and they capitalized.  Dallas Valentine controlled the puck at the left Brandon circle, his wrist shot towards the net was deflected by Rodewald, and his 35th of the year evened the game at one.

The teams exchanged chances to end the first but it was Brandon transition game that was the difference.  With just over a minute to go Braylon Shmyr led a rush across the Warriors line on the right wing.  He was able to connect with John Quenneville on the left wing, the New Jersey Devils prospect then placed the puck off the back hand of defenseman Reid Gow driving the net where he scored his second of the season to give the Wheat Kings a 2-1.

Brandon rolled their lines in the second period and kept goalie Brody Willms busy as they tossed 22 shots on the Moose Jaw net.

The Wheat Kings pressure created goals from Morgan Klimchuk and Nolan Patrick, pushing the Warriors in to a three goal hole going to the third period.

Brandon flexed their muscle in the third period, scoring nine goals to finish the Warriors season.  Brayden Point scored a goal for the Warriors in the final moments.

Moose Jaw finishes the regular season with a record of 32-35-4-1 and just out of the playoff for the third straight year.

This also marks the end of the WHL careers for Jack Rodewald, Tanner Eberle, and Jaimen Yakubowski.

Eberle was a seventh round pick by the Warriors in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, he went on to play four years in Moose Jaw.  In 270 career games he had 80 goals, 92 assists, 172 points, and 406 penalty minutes.  He was also a part of the Warriors 2012 team that captured the East Division title and ran to the 2012 Eastern Conference Final.

Rodewald started his WHL career with the Regina Pats and came to the Warriors before the start of the 2013-2014 regular season.  In 255 goals he had 76 goals, 90 assists, and 166 points, he saved his best year for last as he posted career high’s this season in goals (35), assists (50), and points (85).

Yakubowski was acquired by the Warriors during the off-season from Seattle, in 55 games with Moose Jaw this season he had nine goals, 26 points, and 121 penalty minutes.  His season was cut short due to an injury, he elected to have surgery Friday and wasn’t with the team this weekend.

Moose Jaw’s season came to an end Saturday with a 9-2 loss to the WHL, Eastern Conference, and East Division champion Brandon Wheat Kings.

After putting on a show Friday in Moose Jaw, the Warriors and Wheat Kings established a quick pace that produced plenty of scoring opportunities in the first period Saturday.

Ten minutes in to the game Brandon rookie forward Nolan Patrick led a rush up the ice on the right wing.  Patrick passed the puck to Morgan Klimchuk at the Moose Jaw left circle, the former Regina Pat then placed the puck on the stick of Macoy Erkamps driving the Warriors net where he scored the game’s first goal.

Moose Jaw had a golden opportunity to tie the game shorty after.  With Brandon pressing Jack Rodewald used the Warriors boards to poke the puck around the Wheat Kings defenceman.  Rodewald then corralled the puck in the neutral zone and fed Captain Brayden Point for a breakaway.  The Warriors leading scorer beat goalie Jordan Papirny but unfortunately couldn’t beat the iron, as the puck clanged off the post keeping Brandon in the lead.

With just over five minutes remaining in the first the Warriors were given the first power play of the game and they capitalized.  Dallas Valentine controlled the puck at the left Brandon circle, his wrist shot towards the net was deflected by Rodewald, and his 35th of the year evened the game at one.

The teams exchanged chances to end the first but it was Brandon transition game that was the difference.  With just over a minute to go Braylon Shmyr led a rush across the Warriors line on the right wing.  He was able to connect with John Quenneville on the left wing, the New Jersey Devils prospect then placed the puck off the back hand of defenseman Reid Gow driving the net where he scored his second of the season to give the Wheat Kings a 2-1.

Brandon rolled their lines in the second period and kept goalie Brody Willms busy as they tossed 22 shots on the Moose Jaw net.

The Wheat Kings pressure created goals from Morgan Klimchuk and Nolan Patrick, pushing the Warriors in to a three goal hole going to the third period.

Brandon flexed their muscle in the third period, scoring nine goals to finish the Warriors season.  Brayden Point scored a goal for the Warriors in the final moments.

Moose Jaw finishes the regular season with a record of 32-35-4-1 and just out of the playoff for the third straight year.

This also marks the end of the WHL careers for Jack Rodewald, Tanner Eberle, and Jaimen Yakubowski.

Eberle was a seventh round pick by the Warriors in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, he went on to play four years in Moose Jaw.  In 270 career games he had 80 goals, 92 assists, 172 points, and 406 penalty minutes.  He was also a part of the Warriors 2012 team that captured the East Division title and ran to the 2012 Eastern Conference Final.

Rodewald started his WHL career with the Regina Pats and came to the Warriors before the start of the 2013-2014 regular season.  In 255 goals he had 76 goals, 90 assists, and 166 points, he saved his best year for last as he posted career high’s this season in goals (35), assists (50), and points (85).

Yakubowski was acquired by the Warriors during the off-season from Seattle, in 55 games with Moose Jaw this season he had nine goals, 26 points, and 121 penalty minutes.  His season was cut short due to an injury, he elected to have surgery Friday and wasn’t with the team this weekend.

Warriors Post Thrilling Shootout Win Friday

Mar20 Rodewald1 570x380Jack Rodewald celebrates his go-ahead goal for the Warriors in the third period of Friday night's game at Mosaic Place. (Photo: Stephen Simon / MJ Warriors)

Mosaic Place was electric Friday at the Moose Jaw Warriors kept their playoff hopes alive with a thrilling 7-6 shootout win over the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Brandon pressed to start the first period but it was the Warriors who found results.  Two minutes in Axel Blomqvist worked below the Wheat Kings goal line, he was able to find a passing lane to Brayden Point in front of the net.  The Warriors Captain didn’t take long to get the shot off, scoring his team leading 37th of the year.

Throughout the opening period the teams exchanged scoring opportunities and eventually Brandon took a 19-8 advantage on the shot clock.

With just over four minutes remaining Macoy Erkamps charged across the Warriors right line, he tossed the puck towards the middle of the Moose Jaw zone where Rihards Bukarts reached to deflect the puck past Zach Sawchenko to even the game at one.

Less than two minutes later former Regina Pat Morgan Klimchuk controlled the puck just outside the Brandon line.  The Calgary Flames first round draft pick connected with Braylon Shmyr who was flying on the far left wing.  Shmyr snuck behind the Warriors defence and was able to convert on the partial breakaway, giving Brandon a 2-1 leading heading to the intermission.

68 seconds in to the second period the Wheat Kings caught a break.  Bukarts flipped the puck from the left circle to the bottom right circle for Shmyr who quickly tossed the puck back towards the left wing.  The puck went off of a Warriors skate and in to the net to give Brandon a two-goal lead.

Approaching the five minute mark of the period Tanner Eberle came across the Brandon line.  He ripped a shot on net, the puck fooled goalie Alex Moodie and bounced in to the back of the net to cut in to the deficit.

21 seconds later Eberle and line mates Brett Howden and Jayden Halbgewachs forced a goal mouth scramble.  Halbgewachs was able to poke the puck past the goal line, tying the game at three.

Seven seconds later Jack Rodewald burst across the Brandon right line.  He swing the puck to Point going through the middle of the Brandon zone, the Captain quickly tossed the puck to the top of the left crease where Axel Blomqvist shelved his 25th to give Moose Jaw a 4-3 lead.

As the second continue both goalies were forced to make key saves as they saw quality shots.

With less than six minutes remaining Brandon rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov threw the puck towards the Moose Jaw net where Kale Clague got a piece of the puck, deflecting it in to the twine for the game tying goal.

The seesaw battled continued in the third period.  23 seconds in Point set up Dustin Perillat for a shot from the Brandon blueline, Rodewald was able to deflect it from inside the bottom left circle, giving Moose Jaw a 5-4 lead.

It didn’t take long for the Wheat Kings to respond, 57 seconds later Nolan Patrick’s wrist shot from just inside the Warriors blueline tied the game at five.

The goals kept coming 27 seconds later.  Moose Jaw dumped the puck to the Brandon end boards and Eberle went hard on the fore-check.  With Brandon goalie Alex Moodie out to play the puck, Eberle was able to force a turnover and toss the puck to the crease where Brett Howden scored his 22nd of the year to put the Warriors back in front.

Brandon once again came battling back.  At 7:05 the Wheat Kings worked the puck along the Warriors wall, Clague flipped the puck to the point where Macoy Erkamps unloaded a slapshot that tied the game at six.

The rest of regulation saw the teams exchange opportunities but neither was able to produce a game winning goal.  Overtime was similar, the teams pressed for a marker but weren’t able to score, propelling this thrilling game into a shootout.

Brayden Point and Rihards Bukarts were both turned away in the opening round.  The second round opened with a Jack Rodewald goal and was followed by Sawchenko stopping Braylon Shmyr.  In the third round Jesse Shynkaruk came over the boards, grabbed the puck at centre ice, broke in on the goaltender and sealed the win with a goal that sent the fans into a frenzy.

Point and Tanner Eberle both had a goal and two points for the Warriors; Jayden Halbgewachs, Jack Rodewald, Brett Howden, and Axel Blomqvist both had a goal and two points, and Zach Sawchenko made 30 saves in regulation and overtime and another two in the shootout.

After the win the Warriors quickly turned to the scoreboard where they learned that the Swift Current Broncos beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-3, which means that the tribe heads in to the final game of the regular season two points behind the Broncos for third in the East Division.

If Moose Jaw were to win and the Broncos fall Saturday, which would set up a tie-breaker game Tuesday, March 24th.

Moose Jaw closes out the 2014-2015 WHL regular season Saturday with a rematch against the Wheat Kings.  Catch all the action from Brandon starting with the Country 100 Westrum Lumber Timber Mart PreGame Show at 6:10pm.

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