The Moose Jaw Warriors have made a habit of scoring goals in bunches throughout their B.C. road trip, but none have been as timely and impressive as what they put together on Wednesday night.
Jagger Firkus scored the tying goal with 54 seconds remaining and Ryder Korczak scored the game winner with 2:41 to play in overtime as the Warriors rallied with three goals in the final 10 minutes to take a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Giants.
The Warriors improved to 17-9-0-0 with their fourth-straight victory and sixth win in their last seven games, maintaining their tie for third place in the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference with the Saskatoon Blades and moving five points up on the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
The Warriors had a great start to the game, spending much of the first 15 minutes of the first period in the Vancouver zone, but it would be the Giants who got on the board first.
A turnover at the Warriors blueline led to Ty Thorpe finding Zack Ostapchuk at the side of the Warriors net and he’d put a quick shot past Jackson Unger for the 1-0 lead.
Ostapchuk had a chance to make it 2-0 late in the period when he was hauled down on a short-handed breakaway and awarded a penalty shot, but Unger would come up with a big save to keep the contest a one-goal game.
Kyren Gronick made it 2-0 Vancouver 2:30 into the second period, picking up a deflection in the zone and putting a shot past a scrambling Unger.
The Warriors’ fourth line came through with the first Moose Jaw goal, and it was a pretty one. Lynden Lakovic muscled the puck off the boards around a Vancouver defender, Tate Schofer got the pass over to Nate Pilling and he’d rifle a shot past Brett Mirwald to make it a one-goal game.
Moose Jaw had a great chance to tie the contest midway through the second when Pilling and Tate Schofer created a two-on-none, but Schofer wouldn’t be able to finish off the opportunity thanks to a pad save by Mirwald.
Another rough bounce led to Vancouver again extending their lead to two early in the third. Mazden Leslie took a shot from the point that deflected out front right to Ty Thorpe, and he’d put the shot home to make it a 3-1 Giants lead.
Robert Baco got one back for the Warriors with just over four minutes gone in the third, but Eric Alarie did the heavy lifting. Alarie outduelled a defender on the end boards, got the puck out front to Baco in the slot and he’d put a shot home to make it a one-goal game.
Vancouver responded quickly to that marker, as Leslie was left absolutely alone down the right wing and scored just over two minutes later to restore Vancouver’s more-comfortable lead.
That set the stage for the massive comeback, beginning when Atley Calvert made it a one-goal game on the power play with just over 11 minutes to play.
Brayden Yager got the puck to the Moose Jaw Minor Hockey product at the side of the net, and Calvert would power his way to the front of the net before lifting a backhand over Mirwald.
Firkus drew an assist on the goal, giving him points in his last 19 games. The run is the second longest active run in the WHL.
Firkus then came up with his second last-minute goal in as many games with 54 seconds remaining. With Unger pulled for the extra attacker, the Seattle Kraken prospect took a feed to the right side of the slot and put a shot top shelf on Mirwald short side to tie the game 4-4.
Korczak drew an assist, extending his point streak to seven games, dating back to his arrival in Moose Jaw from AHL Hartford.
That was just a prelude to his overtime heroics, as Denton Mateychuk found Korczak alone in the slot on a 2-on-1 rush, and he’d tip the puck over Mirwald for the 5-4 win.
Unger had 22 saves in the victory, former Warrior Mirwald stopped 33 in the loss.
The Warriors finished their B.C. road swing with a 4-1-0-0 record, but they aren’t sailing home just yet. Next up are the Red Deer Rebels in Friday night, followed by the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday to close out the seven-games-in-14-nights trip.
Next home action is Friday, Dec. 9 against the Hitmen on Teddy Bear Toss Night.