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UPDATED: Warriors Fall In Preseason Opener

Warriors-Broncos-Aug26-09Noah Gregor bangs in a rebound past Travis Child during the second period on Tuesday at Mosaic Place.

The Moose Jaw Warriors aren’t coming away from their first preseason game disappointed, despite losing 4-3 in overtime to the Swift Current Broncos.

“We had over 40 shots on net, created lots of scoring chances and it’s the kind of hockey we’re trying to play, lots of plays using each other and not just giving the other team the puck,” said head coach Tim Hunter.  “I thought right through the lineup everyone played well.”

The Warriors held a 3-1 lead early in the third period, but Luca Leone scored back-to-back goals to tie the game before Tyler Steenbergen won the game for the Broncos just 34 seconds into overtime.

Moose Jaw was able to control the play through the first two periods and spent a lot of time in the offensive zone throughout the game, finishing with 43 shots on Swift Current goalie Travis Child.

Ryan Bowen opened the scoring for Moose Jaw 4:38 into the first period as he finished off a pass from Brett Howden for his first WHL goal.

“Howden made a great pass to me,” said Bowen.  “From the first time we played (together), we’ve always been able to just connect and find each other, so it’s been good.”

Howden finished with two assists in the win as he step up Bowen’s second goal of the night in the third period.

Noah Gregor also scored his first WHL goal midway through the second period when buried a feed from Jayden Halbgewachs, who was one of the Warriors that really stood out throughout the game.

Hunter came away impressed with the play of entire team in their first game of the season.

“That group of D back there passed the puck as well as any group of D that I’ve seen in a long time,” he said.  “They used each other, they got the puck in the forwards hands and they were really good on blue line, both five-on-five and on the powerplay.”

17-year-old defenceman Ryan Gardiner, who finished the season in Moose Jaw last year, played a strong all around game and said he went into the night trying to show the coaching staff that he can be counted on in all areas.

“I’m willing to throw the body around, I’m not afraid to hit or get hit,” he said.  “It’s my game plan to be physical and show them that I’m not going to back down.

“We battled throughout the game, we out played them and then they just got a lucky bounce on us.”

The game featured many players making their first WHL appearances, but it was also Hunter’s first WHL game.  He said it felt good to be back behind the bench.

“It was a little bit strange, I hadn’t been behind the bench in a while,” said the first-year Warriors head coach.  “It was just good to get behind the bench and get started and get going and get in my routine as well.”

There weren’t many performances to be disappointed with on the Warriors in the preseason opener and while it’s still early in the process, Hunter said there will be some tough decisions ahead.

“Everyone’s close and there’s a lot of guys that are going to make for tough decisions,” he said.  “I don’t think there was any one guy that stood out, but those are the decisions you want.  There was no clearcut top three or four young prospects, there was 19 guys that competed hard out there.”

The Warriors will return to the ice on Thursday night in Regina as they take on the Pats at the Cooperators Centre.Warriors-Broncos-Aug26-05Brody Willms looks through traffic before making a save during the first period against Swift Current on Tuesday.

Willms Wants To Improve

16-year-old goalie Brody Willms was solid between the pipes for the Warriors on Tuesday night, but he still sees room for improvement after giving up four goals against the Broncos.

“It was a really good game, back-and-forth, there’s a couple of goals that I want back, but there’s nothing you can do about it now,” said Willms after stopping 29 of 33 shots in Tuesday’s overtime loss.

This wasn’t Willms’ first WHL experience as he played in last year’s rookie game against the Broncos and also appeared in two regular season games with the tribe last season.

He said there’s still some getting use to when it comes to the skill of WHL players.

“With these older guys, the shots are coming in that much quicker,” said Willms.  “You’ve just got to be that much faster tracking the puck and getting your body in front of it.

“I think it’s good to get one game out of the way and kind of get more comfortable in the net and in this league and then on Thursday, come out even stronger.”

While Willms is highly thought of in the Warriors’ organization, he’s also in a tough spot at camp this year.  The tribe has two established goalies in front of him in 19-year-old Justin Paulic and Zach Sawchenko, who’s entering his 17-year-old season.

“I’m just trying to work hard and show that I belong here and I can play here,” he said.

Willms will be back in goal for the Warriors on Thursday in Regina.

UPDATED: Warriors Fall In Preseason Opener

Warriors-Broncos-Aug26-09Noah Gregor bangs in a rebound past Travis Child during the second period on Tuesday at Mosaic Place.

The Moose Jaw Warriors aren’t coming away from their first preseason game disappointed, despite losing 4-3 in overtime to the Swift Current Broncos.

“We had over 40 shots on net, created lots of scoring chances and it’s the kind of hockey we’re trying to play, lots of plays using each other and not just giving the other team the puck,” said head coach Tim Hunter.  “I thought right through the lineup everyone played well.”

The Warriors held a 3-1 lead early in the third period, but Luca Leone scored back-to-back goals to tie the game before Tyler Steenbergen won the game for the Broncos just 34 seconds into overtime.

Moose Jaw was able to control the play through the first two periods and spent a lot of time in the offensive zone throughout the game, finishing with 43 shots on Swift Current goalie Travis Child.

Ryan Bowen opened the scoring for Moose Jaw 4:38 into the first period as he finished off a pass from Brett Howden for his first WHL goal.

“Howden made a great pass to me,” said Bowen.  “From the first time we played (together), we’ve always been able to just connect and find each other, so it’s been good.”

Howden finished with two assists in the win as he step up Bowen’s second goal of the night in the third period.

Noah Gregor also scored his first WHL goal midway through the second period when buried a feed from Jayden Halbgewachs, who was one of the Warriors that really stood out throughout the game.

Hunter came away impressed with the play of entire team in their first game of the season.

“That group of D back there passed the puck as well as any group of D that I’ve seen in a long time,” he said.  “They used each other, they got the puck in the forwards hands and they were really good on blue line, both five-on-five and on the powerplay.”

17-year-old defenceman Ryan Gardiner, who finished the season in Moose Jaw last year, played a strong all around game and said he went into the night trying to show the coaching staff that he can be counted on in all areas.

“I’m willing to throw the body around, I’m not afraid to hit or get hit,” he said.  “It’s my game plan to be physical and show them that I’m not going to back down.

“We battled throughout the game, we out played them and then they just got a lucky bounce on us.”

The game featured many players making their first WHL appearances, but it was also Hunter’s first WHL game.  He said it felt good to be back behind the bench.

“It was a little bit strange, I hadn’t been behind the bench in a while,” said the first-year Warriors head coach.  “It was just good to get behind the bench and get started and get going and get in my routine as well.”

There weren’t many performances to be disappointed with on the Warriors in the preseason opener and while it’s still early in the process, Hunter said there will be some tough decisions ahead.

“Everyone’s close and there’s a lot of guys that are going to make for tough decisions,” he said.  “I don’t think there was any one guy that stood out, but those are the decisions you want.  There was no clearcut top three or four young prospects, there was 19 guys that competed hard out there.”

The Warriors will return to the ice on Thursday night in Regina as they take on the Pats at the Cooperators Centre.Warriors-Broncos-Aug26-05Brody Willms looks through traffic before making a save during the first period against Swift Current on Tuesday.

Willms Wants To Improve

16-year-old goalie Brody Willms was solid between the pipes for the Warriors on Tuesday night, but he still sees room for improvement after giving up four goals against the Broncos.

“It was a really good game, back-and-forth, there’s a couple of goals that I want back, but there’s nothing you can do about it now,” said Willms after stopping 29 of 33 shots in Tuesday’s overtime loss.

This wasn’t Willms’ first WHL experience as he played in last year’s rookie game against the Broncos and also appeared in two regular season games with the tribe last season.

He said there’s still some getting use to when it comes to the skill of WHL players.

“With these older guys, the shots are coming in that much quicker,” said Willms.  “You’ve just got to be that much faster tracking the puck and getting your body in front of it.

“I think it’s good to get one game out of the way and kind of get more comfortable in the net and in this league and then on Thursday, come out even stronger.”

While Willms is highly thought of in the Warriors’ organization, he’s also in a tough spot at camp this year.  The tribe has two established goalies in front of him in 19-year-old Justin Paulic and Zach Sawchenko, who’s entering his 17-year-old season.

“I’m just trying to work hard and show that I belong here and I can play here,” he said.

Willms will be back in goal for the Warriors on Thursday in Regina.

Warriors Open Preseason Against Broncos

Warriors-TC2014-Bargar-Aug22Blake Bargar breaks into the offensive zone during Warriors training camp on the weekend at Mosaic Place.

There will be a lot of first for Moose Jaw Warrior players on Tuesday night.

The Warriors open the WHL Preseason schedule when they host the Swift Current Broncos for the annual rookie game between the two East Division rivals.

Moose Jaw will have a number players in the lineup making their WHL debuts on Tuesday night, including 2014 fourth overall pick Josh Brook, who’s stuck with the team through training camp.

“It’s very exciting,” he said following practice on Monday at Mosaic Place.  “I’m looking forward to seeing the speed of everyone else.”

Brook, who will be playing midget AAA with the Notre Dame Hounds this season, has looked strong throughout training camp and didn’t look out of place during main camp.

“Rookie camp started slow, but once main camp came around, I started to catch up,” said Brook.  “I like playing against the older guys, it pushes me a lot more.”

Blake Bargar also rose his game up during main camp, scoring five times in three main camp scrimmages before being held off the scoreboard during the Black and White game on Sunday night.

He’s looking forward to getting on the ice for his first WHL action.

“I’ve still got to prove against the older guys, they’re the best players I’ve ever played against,” said the 16-year-old Torrance, California native.

“I’m just going to have to play a fast game, go to the net hard and play physical.”

Bargar was able to do that throughout training camp and has impressed the Warriors staff.  He’s now has to carry that into the opening preseason game against the Broncos.

“A big part of my game is my competitiveness and how I keep going,” he said.  “I’ve worked really hard over the summer, so we’ll see what happens.”

Noah Gregor signed with the Warriors during training camp on Friday.  He was acquired by Moose Jaw in the Travis Brown deal with Victoria and didn’t disappoint during training camp.

Despite battling an injury, the 16-year-old played strong against the rookies and veterans.

“Overall I thought I had a strong camp, I showed the coaching staff what I had to offer,” said Gregor.  “I wish I would have got to play a little more, but I’m looking forward to this next week.”

Gregor said he’s happy to finally have signed his WHL standard player agreement with the Warriors and be focused now on trying to make the team.

“It took a little longer than most players, but I feel like I definitely made the right decision,” he said.  “I’m happy here in Moose Jaw and definitely excited.”

After leading the Alberta Midget AAA League in scoring as a 15-year-old, Gregor has a strong chance of cracking the Warriors roster, but he said he still needs to go out and prove he should be here.

“I just need to show them what I’m capable of,” said Gregor.  “I’ll try to use my speed to my advantage, I’m a good skater, I’ll try to use my hockey sense and just try to compete every shift.”

The Warriors and Broncos hit the ice at 7:00pm at Mosaic Place.  Admission to the game is a donation to the Journey To Hope in memory of Ethan Williams, a Warriors prospect who died just before training camp.

About $2,000 was raised on Sunday during the Black and White Intrasquad game.

Paradis Commits To Warriors

Colin Paradis has looked good throughout training camp for the Warriors and now he’ll get a chance to showcase himself some more during the WHL Preseason.

Paradis signed his WHL standard player agreement on Monday and committed to the Warriors.

The 2013 fourth round WHL Bantam pick missed a portion of the season last year with a collarbone injury, but has played well through camp with the Warriors.

He’ll make his WHL debut on Tuesday against the Broncos.

Warriors Open Preseason Against Broncos

Warriors-TC2014-Bargar-Aug22Blake Bargar breaks into the offensive zone during Warriors training camp on the weekend at Mosaic Place.

There will be a lot of first for Moose Jaw Warrior players on Tuesday night.

The Warriors open the WHL Preseason schedule when they host the Swift Current Broncos for the annual rookie game between the two East Division rivals.

Moose Jaw will have a number players in the lineup making their WHL debuts on Tuesday night, including 2014 fourth overall pick Josh Brook, who’s stuck with the team through training camp.

“It’s very exciting,” he said following practice on Monday at Mosaic Place.  “I’m looking forward to seeing the speed of everyone else.”

Brook, who will be playing midget AAA with the Notre Dame Hounds this season, has looked strong throughout training camp and didn’t look out of place during main camp.

“Rookie camp started slow, but once main camp came around, I started to catch up,” said Brook.  “I like playing against the older guys, it pushes me a lot more.”

Blake Bargar also rose his game up during main camp, scoring five times in three main camp scrimmages before being held off the scoreboard during the Black and White game on Sunday night.

He’s looking forward to getting on the ice for his first WHL action.

“I’ve still got to prove against the older guys, they’re the best players I’ve ever played against,” said the 16-year-old Torrance, California native.

“I’m just going to have to play a fast game, go to the net hard and play physical.”

Bargar was able to do that throughout training camp and has impressed the Warriors staff.  He’s now has to carry that into the opening preseason game against the Broncos.

“A big part of my game is my competitiveness and how I keep going,” he said.  “I’ve worked really hard over the summer, so we’ll see what happens.”

Noah Gregor signed with the Warriors during training camp on Friday.  He was acquired by Moose Jaw in the Travis Brown deal with Victoria and didn’t disappoint during training camp.

Despite battling an injury, the 16-year-old played strong against the rookies and veterans.

“Overall I thought I had a strong camp, I showed the coaching staff what I had to offer,” said Gregor.  “I wish I would have got to play a little more, but I’m looking forward to this next week.”

Gregor said he’s happy to finally have signed his WHL standard player agreement with the Warriors and be focused now on trying to make the team.

“It took a little longer than most players, but I feel like I definitely made the right decision,” he said.  “I’m happy here in Moose Jaw and definitely excited.”

After leading the Alberta Midget AAA League in scoring as a 15-year-old, Gregor has a strong chance of cracking the Warriors roster, but he said he still needs to go out and prove he should be here.

“I just need to show them what I’m capable of,” said Gregor.  “I’ll try to use my speed to my advantage, I’m a good skater, I’ll try to use my hockey sense and just try to compete every shift.”

The Warriors and Broncos hit the ice at 7:00pm at Mosaic Place.  Admission to the game is a donation to the Journey To Hope in memory of Ethan Williams, a Warriors prospect who died just before training camp.

About $2,000 was raised on Sunday during the Black and White Intrasquad game.

Paradis Commits To Warriors

Colin Paradis has looked good throughout training camp for the Warriors and now he’ll get a chance to showcase himself some more during the WHL Preseason.

Paradis signed his WHL standard player agreement on Monday and committed to the Warriors.

The 2013 fourth round WHL Bantam pick missed a portion of the season last year with a collarbone injury, but has played well through camp with the Warriors.

He’ll make his WHL debut on Tuesday against the Broncos.

Progress On Display During Training Camp

Warriors-BlackWhite-Aug24-12014 CHL Import Draft pick Jiri Smejkal tries to cut in between Jayden Halbgewachs and another defender during Sunday's Black and White Intrasquad game at Mosaic Place. (Photo: Stephen Simon/MJ Warriors)

Two years of high draft picks and smart trading made for a competitive training camp for the Moose Jaw Warriors over the weekend.

The camp played out how many had expected it to as the young players pushed many of the returning players throughout the weekend with solid showings. The Warriors' front office and coaching staff are coming away impressed with what they saw in the camp.

“In general, all good, really impressed with the young guys,” said General Manager Alan Millar. “I thought some young guys, (Christos) Zinis and (Colin) Paradis in particular, who had injuries last year and we were wondering about their development, had real good camps.”

The Warriors wrapped up camp on Sunday afternoon with their annual Black and White Intrasquad game, where again the young, and new, players shined. Jayden Halbgewachs led the charge for Team Black, picking up a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win.

“I felt good as camp went on and I scored some goals now near the end and was able to make some nice plays,” said Halbgewachs, a former first round pick who is looking to make the team as a 17-year-old. “I'm pretty confident coming into this year, I worked hard over these last two summers to be a Moose Jaw Warrior.”

16-year-old forward Noah Gregor, along with Kolten Olynek and Jaimen Yakubowski, both acquired via trade during the offseason, scored the other goals for Team Black in the win. Brayden Point opened the scoring for Team White, but that was all they could muster.

Many veterans turned in strong camps like 19-year-old goalie Justin Paulic, 20-year-olds Tanner Eberle and Yakubowski and 19-year-olds Brandon Potomak and Austin Adam, but most of the talk was focused on the play of the young roster hopefuls.

“I'm impressed with the young guys and all in all, it was an encouraging camp,” said Millar. “It was the competitiveness that we wanted and we saw.

“We wanted this to be that next step in terms of starting to see the results of the decisions that we made the last couple of years as part of this process and the building of this team.”

After three days on the ice and four scrimmages, Millar came away wanting a bit more out of some other veteran players that might be on the bubble for roster spots this season, especially up front.

“There's some returning guys that have got to figure some things out pretty quick,” said Millar. “There's some guys here that took for granted the last couple of days of where we're at and don't quite understand the depth that we have and the ability of these young guys. We certainly have some returning players that need to be better, starting (Monday).”

Some decisions were made after Sunday's intrasquad game, but the real tough ones will come over the next few weeks as the team progresses through the preseason, which they open on Tuesday with a rookie game against the Swift Current Broncos.

Another Year of Development Pays Off

Jayden Halbgewachs and Ryan Gardiner both had shots at making the Warriors last year as 16-year-olds, but both players were sent back to midget AAA for another year of seasoning.

Both players are coming away happy with that experience and feel it made them better players in the long run.

“It's 100 per cent,” said Gardiner. “I got way better going back, got more ice (time) to develop and I'm happy with the decision.

“My overall game (improved). I got to work on the power play, PK and just my overall game.”

Gardiner went on to win the Manitoba Midget AAA League's Top Defenceman award and he said going back for another gave him more confidence coming into this camp.

“I definitely showed them that I could play in my defensive zone,” he said. “I wanted to show my offence as well, so this game I was able to step up and show my offence against the vets.”

After initial disappointment last year, Halbgewachs said he saw the positives in going back to the Regina Pat Canadians last year and he feels it helped him get more prepared to make the jump into the WHL this season.

“I got to be the best player on the ice and the best player on my team, so going back there helped out,” said Halbgewachs, who finished third in the league in scoring with 28 goals and 66 points in 42 games. The Regina native also got the chance to play in four games with the Warriors, picking up one assist.

“Getting called up for a few games last year helped out a lot,” he added. “You get a feel for the guys in the room, but also on the ice, the level of speed, which helped out coming into this year.”

Both Gardiner and Halbgewachs made strong cases during camp to find themselves on the Warriors' final roster.Warriors-TC2014-Adamyk-Aug22Goalie Mitchell Adamyk makes a nice poke check save during a rookie camp scrimmage.

Goaltending Strong Suit For Warriors

For the first time in a number of years, the Warriors aren't searching for a goaltender at back-to-back training camps and they can expect that to continue.

Justin Paulic made 30 saves in just over 30 minutes of work during Sunday's Black and White Intrasquad game as he looks to bounce back from struggle-filled 2013-14 season. He's followed up by Zach Sawchenko, who doesn't turn 17 until Dec. 30, and 16-year-old Brody Willms.

Mitchell Adamyk was the goalie that had everyone talking during camp however as the listed player made it through rookie camp and played strong during main camp as well.

“I'm pretty happy,” said the Winnipeg native. “The first game I was a little nervous, but then my confidence just kept going up.”

Adamyk stopped 12 of 13 shots during the intrasquad game to finish on a high note. He shot of suiting up for the Warriors are long with Sawchenko and Willms both ahead of him, but he's given the Warriors a nice problem to have and one they've been working on creating.

“You need depth in that area and you've got to have great goaltending to win,” said Millar, who stated he wanted to break the franchise trend of trading for experienced goaltending.

Nine Players Re-Assigned

Adamyk was one of nine players that the Warriors re-assigned after Sunday's intrasquad game.

15-year-old defencemen Marcus Kichton and Brandon Armstrong were also sent down, while 16-year-old Nick Leitner and 17-year-old Ben Shushkovskey won't break camp with the team.

On forward, the Warriors re-assigned 16-year-olds Tristin Langan and Jaxen Gemmell, as well as 17-year-olds Tanner Jeannot and Jake Leitner.

That leaves Moose Jaw with 34 players on their roster (three goalies, 11 defencemen and 20 forwards).

Proceeds From Games Donated To Charity

Admission from Sunday's Black and White game was donated to the Journey To Hope here in Moose Jaw in memory of Warriors prospect Ethan Williams. Williams died earlier this month when he committed suicide.

About $2,000 was raised through Sunday's game. Admission from Tuesday's preseason opener against the Swift Current Broncos will also be donated to the Journey To Hope.

Williams was drafted by the Warriors in the fifth round of the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. He was expected to be at this year's training camp and competing for a spot on the squad.

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