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Former Warriors defenceman Mateychuk having impact on AHL Calder Cup playoffs

Columbus Blue jackets first-rounder draws assist on overtime winner in Game 6 as Cleveland pushes Eastern Conference Final to seven games
Former Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman Denton Mateychuk is having an impact with the Cleveland Monsters in the AHL Calder Cup playoffs.

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM -- When former Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman Denton Mateychuk joined the Cleveland Monsters in the American Hockey League Calder Cup playoffs, there was a good chance it would be a one-and-done visit.

Cleveland trailed the Hershey Bears three-games-to-none in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final series, and had just absorbed a 6-2 loss in Game 3 against the defending champion Bears.

But Mateychuk was heading into Cleveland with as big a winning pedigree as there can be, with his Warriors having just celebrated their WHL championship a few days earlier -- and wouldn’t you know it, his winning ways have continued.

With the Columbus Blue Jackets first-rounder in the line-up, the Monsters battled to a 3-2 win in Game 4 to keep their season alive, took a 5-1 win in Game 5 and then won 3-2 in overtime on Monday in Game 6 to force a deciding Game 7 on Wednesday night.

Mateychuk hasn’t just been along for the ride, either.

The 19-year-old picked up his first AHL point in Game 5 when he assisted on Josh Dunne’s go-ahead goal midway through the second period.

He then put together another piece of overtime magic in Game 6, when he sent a cross-ice pass to a wide-open Jake Christiansen, whose harmless-looking shot on net found it’s way through traffic and in.

Here’s how that looked, with Mateychuk wearing number three.

Mateychuk played on the second defensive pairing with Marcus Bjork in Games 4 and 5 before slotting in alongside Christiansen for Game 6.

Mateychuk’s success has come at the expense of another Warriors product in Hershey captain Dylan McIlrath. A defensive standout with Moose Jaw from 2008-12, McIlrath was held without a shot and went minus-two in Game 5 while playing on the top defensive pairing and had two shots while going minus-two in Game 6.

The winner of Wednesday night’s contest will advance to face the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the Calder Cup Final beginning this weekend.

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