Throughout this season, the Moose Jaw Warriors have shown a willingness to fight back and that was the case again on Tuesday night.
The Warriors threw a counterpunch at the Winnipeg ICE with a 3-2 win in Game 3 of their second round series.
“Winnipeg is a good team and to get that win after the game we had in Winnipeg is huge for us,” said Warriors forward Calder Anderson, who scored the game-winning goal.
The win for Moose Jaw cuts Winnipeg’s lead in the series down to 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Wednesday night at Mosaic Place.
“They’ve done a really good job the last couple of days, the group, of sticking together,” Warriors assistant coach Scott King said. “They’ve been real supportive of each other, real supportive of the decisions that the coaching staff has made and they deserve all the credit.”
16-year-old goalie Jackson Unger was the star of the game for the Warriors, making 38 saves to earn a win in his first career WHL Playoff start.
King said they had full confidence in the young goalie that he could get the job done for them.
“He was phenomenal, had to make seven or eight 10-bell saves,” he said. “For a young guy like that to come in and he just looks really calm in the net, it’s a calming influence on the bench and an amazing job by him.”
Anderson’s game-winning goal came on a four-minute penalty kill midway through the third period. The shorthanded marker put the Warriors in front 3-1 at that point.
The penalty kill was huge throughout the game for the Warriors, finishing 5-for-6 against the best power play in the league, including a momentum-shifting five-minute kill in the second period.
“You could feel the momentum switch in the building, so that was a huge kill, we did a good job all night on the kill,” Anderson said.
“That five-minute kill, that’s the game right there,” King added. “If they get a couple, that probably sends us through a little bit of a tailspin, but the guys battled really hard.”
The Warriors followed up that big penalty kill with their first goal of the game as Jagger Firkus took a feed from Ryder Korczak and beat Daniel Hauser on the glove side to tie the game at 1-1 midway through the second.
Zachary Benson had opened the scoring for Winnipeg early in the first period.
Moose Jaw took its first lead of the series early in the third when Eric Alarie snapped home his second of the playoffs just 3:12 into the frame.
Anderson made it a two-goal advantage with the shorthanded marker at 9:42, finishing off a great pass from Cordel Larson.
With their goalie pulled late in the third, Jack Finley pulled Winnipeg to within one, but Unger made some big stops late to secure the win for the Warriors.
“We played a really solid game and we’ll do it all again tomorrow,” Anderson said.
The Warriors and ICE meet for Game 4 of the second round series at Mosaic Place on Wednesday night.