With plenty of excitement in the air, the Moose Jaw Warriors put on a show on Friday night at Mosaic Place with an 8-2 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings.
In his first game back from the World Juniors, captain Brett Howden finished with a hat trick and five points in the win, while Jayden Halbgewachs also had a five-point night, scoring three times to push his league-leading total to 47 in 44 games.
Both teams had their skating legs in the opening frame, as they raced up the ice to go on the attack. As well, both teams worked hard along the boards resulting with extending attack time on numerous occasions.
The Warriors picked up the game’s first goal at 13:27 when Halbgewachs flew up the ice and down the Edmonton left boards, as he cut along the goal line he tossed the puck to Howden, who was driving the net where he scored his 14th of the season.
Just over two minutes later, the Warriors went up 2-0 when local product Branden Klatt skated to the Edmonton right circle and snapped a hard shot past goalie Josh Dechaine for his second of the year.
Under a minute later, the Warriors added to their lead when Ryan Peckford dug the puck off the Edmonton boards and moved it to the blue-line for newly acquired defenceman Kale Clague, he lifted a wrist shot towards the net, and with the puck loose in the Edmonton crease, Howden chopped in his second of the period and 100th WHL goal to make it 3-0.
The second period started with the teams, playing 4-on-4 and 34 seconds into the period, Howden and Halbgewachs worked a give-and-go low in the Edmonton zone, which resulted in Halbgewachs’ 45th goal of the year.
Just over a minute later, Edmonton was able to get on the scoreboard when Colton Kehler scored on a breakaway, but it didn’t take long for the Warriors to respond. At 4:35, Tanner Jeannot led a rush across the Edmonton line and dropped the puck back to Brayden Burke just inside the left blue-line, Burke then moved the puck to the high slot where Justin Almeida zipped in his 26th of the season.
Under three minutes later, at 7:19, Halbgewachs set up Howden for his hat-trick goal, which chased Dechaine from the game after allowing six goals on 14 shots.
Moose Jaw ended the second period strong when they added to their lead in the final five minutes. After a face-off inside the Edmonton right circle, Peckford fought the puck away from the Oil Kings and dropped the puck between the circles for Halbgewachs, who let a quick shot go that beat goalie Todd Scott blocker side for this second of the game and 46th of the season.
Kehler scored his second goal of the game at 1:47 of the third period, but the Warriors put the game away three minutes later when Halbgewachs scored his hat trick goal.
Moose Jaw was 0-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. They out-shot the Oil Kings, 39-19.
The Warriors' busy weekend continues on Saturday with a trip to Prince Albert to take on the Raiders. Catch all the action on Country 100, starting with the Westrum Lumber Timber Mart Pre-Game Show at 6:40 p.m.
Moose Jaw’s three-in-three weekend wraps up on Sunday when they return home to battle the Medicine Hat Tigers at 4 p.m. Tickets are available online at mjwarriors.ca or at the Mosaic Place Box Office.