Edmonton, AB — The Moose Jaw Warriors rode a three-goal first period and a 42-save performance from Jackson Unger to a solid win in Edmonton on Friday night.
“Jackson made some really big saves and he battled,” Warriors assistant coach Scott King said.
In his first start since a lights out performance at the Top Prospects Game, Unger was key for the Warriors in a 4-1 win over the Oil Kings at Rogers Place.
“He’ll build confidence from that game,” King said. “There was a couple of points in the game, it could have gotten really hairy, he bailed us out, so he was real good tonight.”
Robert Baco, Jagger Firkus and Eric Alarie scored in the opening frame, while Denton Mateychuk added two assists.
King said the Warriors’ forecheck was a big positive in the first period.
“We were trying to get on it and turn some pucks over, guys in right spots and went the other way,” he said.
Baco opened the scoring just 2:25 into the game, banging home a rebound in front for his ninth of the season.
Firkus wired home his 25th of the year just past the midway point of the opening frame to make it 2-0.
Then on a breakaway, Alarie scored his 15th of the season with just 3:05 left in the opening period.
Josh Hoesktra added to the Warriors’ lead only 2:18 into the second period, making it 4-0 with his seventh of the season.
Edmonton’s Riley Kovacevic was able to get the Oil Kings’ on the board midway through the second, but the Warriors locked it down after that.
Unger made 18 saves in the first period, 15 in the second and then finished by stopping all nine shots from Edmonton in the third to seal the win.
“At points, we made it hard on ourselves just by not being a little more urgent to move pucks and make that first play,” King said. “We stuck with it and we’ll take the two points for sure.”
The Warriors were 0-for-4 on the power play, but also finished the night 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Moose Jaw moves back into third place in the Eastern Conference with the win, sitting one point clear of Saskatoon, who holds four games in hand, and seven points ahead of Lethbridge.
The Warriors will look to finish the road trip on a high note when they head into Calgary on Sunday afternoon for a 3 p.m. CST puck drop at the Scotiabank Saddledome.