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Almeida hits 100 points as Warriors defeat Pats

Moose Jaw forward becomes second player to hit century mark as Tribe take 6-1 win at Mosaic Place

It might have been a meaningless game in the standings, but the Moose Jaw Warriors are still more than happy to take a win over the Regina Pats whenever they can – especially if a player hits an important milestone along the way,

Justin Almeida scored his 29th and 30th goals, 70th assist and 100th point of the season as the Warriors took a 6-1 win over the Pats in Western Hockey League action at Mosaic Place on Saturday night, sweeping the home-and-home series. The Warriors won the first game 3-1 Friday in Regina.

Almeida’s 100th came on an empty net goal with 2:43 remaining, in part courtesy of some quick thinking by Warriors head coach Tim Hunter.

“No question, I’m cognizant of where they’re at and what they need,” Hunter said. “When he (Pats head coach David Struch) pulled his goalie I had Denomie and Ormsby going out there with Taphorn and I pulled them off. Either Langan was getting his 49th or Meids his 100th point if we score and that’s how it went.”

The milestone was the capper on an incredible day for Almeida, as only a few hours earlier he had signed his first NHL contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins (see related story).

“It’s probably one of the best days of my life,” Almeida said. “Signing a contract is the next step toward the NHL and that’s your goal as a young kid. When I signed my family was so happy, my friends were happy so it was huge for me.

“And then 100 points, that was in the back of my mind before the game and I wanted to get it out of the way before the end of the season. Last year I was a few short so it was nice to get that… last year I ended the year and I was happy with my season, but finishing two away was in the back of my mind all season so it was great to get it done.”

Almeida’s success marked only the third time in team history that two players on the same Warriors team have reached the 100 point mark – Tristin Langan became a centurion the previous weekend and currently needs two goals to hit the 50 goal mark.

“It’s really cool, seeing the guys doing it before you and then Langer hits it and you’re so happy for him, he’s one of my best friends so to do it the same season as him is pretty cool,” Almeida said. “And then Tracey has 80 points as a rookie, so our whole line is contributing and it’s fun.”

Brayden Tracey had a pair of goals for the Tribe while Daniil Stepanov and Luke Ormsby added their other markers as the Warriors took a 2-0 lead out of the first and led 3-0 through two.

Evanoff lost his shutout bid at the 9:40 mark of the third but went on to stop 24 shots to take the win. The Warriors fired 36 at Regina’s Dean McNabb.

The Warriors improved to 37-19-6-2 on the season as they continue to close in on the 40-win mark in the final week of the season. They had clinched a playoff spot the night before. Regina fell to 18-44-1-2 and will miss the playoffs.

The Warriors are back in action this afternoon when they take on their first-round playoff opponent, the Saskatoon Blades, in Saskatoon.



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