Warriors Rolling Into Weekend

Warriors-White-Oct2Torrin White celebrates one of his three goals this season for the Moose Jaw Warriors. (Photo: Stephen Simon/MJ Warriors)

Three straight wins, points in six straight games and five straight home wins.

The Moose Jaw Warriors are playing some outstanding hockey right now as they get set for a big weekend set of games. The Warriors will wrap up their season-opening homestand with the Portland Winterhawks in town on Friday night before travelling to Swift Current on Saturday.

The tribe heads into the weekend with loads of confidence after their 5-3 win over the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday, which extended their winning streak to three games.

“There's a real positive atmosphere in the room and if we keep playing the way that we've been playing, it's going to be a good year,” said 19-year-old forward Torrin White. “This little streak that we've been on is a pretty good feeling and it's brightening the spirits in the room.”

Moose Jaw enters the weekend with a 5-3-0-1 record, which puts them over .500, something that hasn't been seen very much over the past two seasons. The team is doing it on the back of depth throughout their lineup.

All four forward lines are contributing and since the team's 7-1 loss to Regina on Sept. 28, the defence has been playing as a solid six-man unit.

“We have skill through all four lines and it obviously shows in the game,” said White. “With the skilled players we have and the puck possession, skill game that we play, it complements each other nicely.”

White said the lineup overhaul that happened since last season has led to that depth and made the Warriors into a tough team to match-up against now that they've adjusted to head coach Tim Hunter's system.

“There's a lot of things that have gone into (the early season success),” White said. “Just the way that Tim's coaching here is working well with the players that we have and I think that's a big reason why we're winning.”

Moose Jaw has been producing offensively during their recent winning streak and it's been led as expected by Brayden Point, Jack Rodewald and Tanner Eberle, but the team is seeing each line chip in. White said that teams are having a tough time answering their depth.

“Through all four of our lines, there's some dangerous guys,” said White. “If we keep playing the way that we are, teams are going to start respecting us a little more.”

Portland has had their struggles to start the year. The four-time defending Western Conference champions are sitting at 1-7-0-2 through their first ten games this season. They come into Friday night with the most goals against in the league at 47, compared to the 26 that the Warriors have allowed in nine games.

White said that despite the Winterhawks' struggles, they know that they can be a dangerous team at any moment with players like Nic Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand still in the lineup.

“We just need to know who's on the ice, they have some real dangerous guys,” he said. “As long as we most importantly focus on our own game and then be aware when those guys are on the ice, then we'll be alright.”

Moose Jaw and Portland hit the ice on Friday night at 7:00pm and then the tribe travels to Swift Current on Saturday night. You can catch all the action both nights on Country 100, starting with the Pre-Game Show at 6:40pm.

Point Named To Team WHL For Super Series

Warriors-Point-Oct15Warriors captain Brayden Point in action against the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday night, he had a goal and an assist in the win. (Photo: Cory Kerr Photography)

Brayden Point can cross another accomplishment off the list.

The Moose Jaw Warriors captain was named to Team WHL for next month's CHL Subway Super Series in Saskatoon and Brandon.

Point and Team WHL will take on Team Russia on Monday, Nov. 10 in Saskatoon and then again on Tuesday, Nov. 11 in Brandon as part of the annual six-game series that sees CHL all-star teams take on Russian all-stars.

The tournament serves as part of the evaluation process for Hockey Canada in the lead up to the World Junior Hockey Championship.

This will be Point's first time taking part in the Super Series. He has four goals and 11 points in seven games this season.

Click here to see the full WHL roster.

Warriors Sink Raiders For 3rd Straight Win

Warriors-Eberle-Oct15Warriors forward Tanner Eberle snows Prince Albert goalie Nick McBride before beating him for a breakaway goal. (Photo: Cory Kerr Photography)

Brayden Point and Jack Rodewald and a goal and two points each Wednesday in the Moose Jaw Warriors 5-3 win over Prince Albert at Mosaic Place.

Once again the Warriors established their quick style in the early moments but as the first period went on the Raiders made nice adjustments to keep pace with the tribe.  The teams combined for 23 shots in the opening period, with many of those being quality scoring opportunities.

In the final minute of the first Brayden Point fought off the Raiders right wall and connected with Jack Rodewald in the slot between the circles.  Rodewald ripped his team leading fifth of the year to give the tribe a 1-0 lead rolling towards the intermission.

Warriors captain Brayden Point talks with Country 100's Marc Smith on the Post-Game Show after Wednesday's 5-3 win against the Raiders.

Four minutes in to the second period, Tyler Brown kept the puck inside the Raider zone at the left point.  His shot towards the net ricochet to Brayden Point who had a wide open net for his fourth of the year.

Just over ninety seconds later Jaimen Yakubowski led a rush across the Prince Albert line.  The 20-year-old let a shot go on the fly from the right wing, it went off the pad of goalie Nick McBride and right to Torrin White crashing the net for his third of the year.

Prince Albert was finally able to silence some of the Warriors momentum 18 seconds later when Josh Morrissey rifled a shot passed a screened Zach Sawchenko.

Warriors assistant coach Mark O'Leary joins the Country 100 Post-Game Show to talk about their 5-3 win over Prince Albert.

Moose Jaw outshot the Raiders 18-6 in the second period but weren’t able to add to their lead until early in the third.

Prince Albert started the final frame strong, but the Warriors were able to capitalize on a neutral zone turnover.  Jack Rodewald and Noah Gregor came in on an odd-man rush, Rodewald set up Gregor for his second of the year just under two minutes in to the period.

Five minutes later the Raiders bobbled the puck at the Moose Jaw blue line, Tanner Eberle pounced on it and streaked down the ice on a breakaway.  Eberle made good on his opportunity, scoring his fifth of the year to make it 5-1.

As the third went on the Raiders charged back in the game.  At 11:09 Brendan Guhle’s point shot was able to sneak past Sawchenko to make it 5-2, then two minutes later on a scramble in front of the net Reid Gardiner poked the puck in to make it a two-goal game.

Prince Albert battled hard to claw closer, but the Warriors buckled down defensively and held on for the 5-3 win.

The win was the Warriors third straight, they also now have points in six straight, moving their record to 5-3-0-1.

Moose Jaw is now off until the weekend, Friday they’ll square off against the four-time defending Western Conference Champion Portland Winterhawks at Mosaic Place, Saturday they’ll head west to Swift Current for their third meeting of the season against the Broncos.  Catch all the action both night on Country 100 starting with the PreGame Show at 6:40pm.

Well Rested Warriors Host Raiders

Warriors-Point-Oct4Warriors captain Brayden Point protects the puck during action against the Tri-City Americans at Mosaic Place on Oct. 4. (Photo: Cory Kerr Photography)

It's been almost a week since the Moose Jaw Warriors last hit the ice, but they will return to game action with a big East Division game on Wednesday night at Mosaic Place.

After getting the weekend off, the Warriors will go to work against the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday, the lone team to beat Moose Jaw during their five-game point streak.

“We want to get them back for that shootout loss,” said captain Brayden Point, who has three goals and nine points in six games this season. “They're coming into our rink, so hopefully we can give them a good game.”

The Warriors last loss was a 3-2 shootout defeat by the Raiders in Prince Albert at the start of the month. The tribe has won two straight since then, including a 3-1 win over the Kootenay Ice last Thursday.

The success over the past three weeks for Moose Jaw has given the team confidence that they can pick up two points each time out. That confidence is wavering heading into Wednesday's game against Prince Albert.

“Winning instills a lot of confidence in guys and it's good to see that it's still carrying over to practice this week,” said Point after wrapping up the team's practice on Tuesday at Mosaic Place.

The Warriors had the weekend off, which is rare during a WHL season. It allowed the team to refresh after a busy start to the season that saw them post a 4-3-0-1 record during their first eight games.

“It felt good to get those couple of days rest, it showed in practice, we were going pretty good,” said Point. “It's good to just relax and take some time to recover (after the start to the season).”

Coming into Wednesday's game fresh is something that Point feels can be a benefit for the team.

“I don't think it will hurt for sure,” he said. “It's always good after a busy schedule to get some rest, so it's good.”

The Warriors played a tight game against the Raiders in their first meeting of the season, losing in the shootout after tying the game in the third period on a goal from 16-year-old rookie Brett Howden.

No luck in the shootout led to the loss for Moose Jaw, but they're confident they can pull it off on home ice this time around.

“They're a hard working team, so we've got to match that work ethic,” said Point. “We definitely need to get shots on net with traffic, so that we can put the rebounds in.”

There will be one big change for the Raiders this time around though as they will have 19-year-old defenceman Josh Morrissey back in the lineup after he was returned from the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

This is the seventh home game of the season for the Warriors and after posting just ten home wins last season, the tribe has already won four out of six this season. Point said getting success at home is big for the team.

“Especially after the last couple of years where we've struggled at home,” he said. “It's good to be giving the fans something to cheer about.”

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

Contributions From Everyone For Warriors

Warriors-Olynek-Sep26-1Warriors forward Kolten Olynek in action this season. (Photo: Cory Kerr Photography)

The Moose Jaw Warriors have been doing it as a team over the first three weeks of the season and it’s been paying off.

The Warriors had the long weekend off after picking up their second straight win, 3-1 over Kootenay, on Thursday night.  Moose Jaw has won four of their last five and picked up a point in each of those games.

Over the first eight games of the season, the Warriors are being led offensively by Brayden Point, Jack Rodewald, Tanner Eberle and Brett Howden as expected, but all the players in the lineup are adapting well to their roles on the team.

The Warriors are playing as a team with each line contributing something each time on the ice.

“We’re sticking to the game plan, working hard every single shift,” said 18-year-old forward Kolten Olynek.  “We let up at times during the first few games of the season, but now we’re just going sixty minutes, full out.”

Olynek has developed himself a nice role on the team as a key penalty killer and 3rd-4th line centre that can play a strong defensive role.

“I love playing PK, I love helping the team that way and taking face-offs and just going out there and creating energy with my linemates,” Olynek said.  “I’m finding my role and I’m very happy with it right now.”

Olynek has one assist through eight games, but has made his impact felt in other ways.

During last Thursday’s game against Kootenay, Moose Jaw had a key defensive zone face off with one second to go in the second period and Olynek was sent out there to win it.

He said that's a big confidence booster.

“For (Head Coach Tim Hunter) to put me out there in the dying seconds of the period for a big defensive zone face-off is always a boost of confidence and I’ve just got to carry that and continue to flourish in my opportunity,” Olynek said.

Defensively, the Warriors have been getting some big play from a pair of younger d-men with 17-year-olds Tyler Brown and Ryan Gardiner starting to take on more and more responsibility.

Gardiner is in his first season with the Warriors and with seven games in now, he’s making it hard on the Warriors’ coaches to take him out of the lineup.

“I feel real happy with myself right now,” said Gardiner.  “I’ve adjusted to the speed, the compete level and now I’m trying to get more offence going, but overall I’m really happy with it.”

For a young offensive-minded defenceman, Gardiner has played exceptional in his own zone so far this year, but he’s hoping to start putting more of his offensive game on display as he gets more comfortable.

“Start in the d-zone first and make sure that I play D first and then I can go up and play offence,” said Gardiner.  “Once I get more comfortable, I’ll trust myself to get up in the play more.

“My speed has helped me a lot, I’m able to go there and back, like I have no problem back checking, so my speed has been good.”

The Warriors had the long weekend off and they will return to the ice on Wednesday when the Prince Albert Raiders come to Mosaic Place.  The team is confident that they can stay on track heading into that East Division match-up.

“We’re competing, working the corners, battling hard and just out competing other teams,” said Gardiner.  

The tribe will also face Portland and Swift Current on Friday and Saturday.

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