A five-goal second period helped propel the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 7-4 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings to kick-off the second half of the season.
“It was a slow start, but once we got our legs under us, things were going well,” Warriors forward Ryder Korczak said after the win.
It was the Warriors’ first game in ten days after the Christmas break.
Assistant Coach Scott King said he was pleased with the performance by the team after the lengthy break.
“We played with a lot of energy, I thought our fourth line in the first period was real good, getting us going and then we just built after that,” he said.
Jagger Firkus scored his second hat trick of the season and finished with four points in the win, while Korczak picked up two goals and three points.
The two players live together and sit 1-2 on the team in scoring so far this season with 38 points for Korczak and 37 for Firkus, who also has a team-high 18 goals.
“It’s pretty cool, it’s very special,” Korczak said. “I don’t give him much credit, I’m kind of hard on him, but he had a really good game.”
Korczak said the rivalry between the two players is pushing them.
“When we come home, there’s chirping, there’s battling, but we both had a pretty good game, so we’re going to be happy to go home,” he said.
In their first game back after the Christmas break, the Warriors started a bit slow and fell behind 1-0 when Moose Jaw product Ethan Peters scored his first of the season.
Firkus answered back for the Warriors with 3:35 left in the first period, scoring on a breakaway for his 16th of the season to make it 1-1 after one.
The second period didn’t start great for Moose Jaw as Edmonton scored back-to-back goals from Luke Prokop and Josh Williams to take a 3-1 lead just 4:25 into the frame.
Firkus answered back for the Warriors just 25 seconds later though and that sparked Moose Jaw, who would go on to score five unanswered goals over the next 11 minutes.
Korczak tied the game with a wrist shot from the slot just 1:24 later.
Then 4:14 after that, Brayden Yager blasted home his 15th of the season on the power play to give the Warriors their first lead of the game and they never looked back.
Less than three minutes later, Korczak scored his second of the night to put the Warriors in front by two.
Nathan Pilling added his third of the season only 2:20 later to make it 6-3 after two.
In the third, Logan Dowhaniuk cut the Warriors’ lead down to two, but Firkus sealed the win with his hat trick goal in the final three minutes of regulation.
“Overall, it was a pretty good night and Edmonton, even with the guys they’re missing, they’re still a pretty skilled team, so it was nice to get that one,” King said.
Edmonton is without five players who are currently at the World Junior Hockey Championship, while the Warriors are missing Martin Rysavy at the tournament and captain Daemon Hunt, who was injured during Canada’s selection camp.
Carl Tetachuk made 29 saves in the win, while the Warriors fired 41 shots on Edmonton goalie Kolby Hay.
Moose Jaw went 2-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill on the night.
The Warriors are now 15-14-2-1 on the year and sit one point back of the Saskatoon Blades for fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Next up for the Warriors is a meeting with the Red Deer Rebels on New Year’s Eve at Mosaic Place. Tickets are available at mjwarriors.ca.