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Schuurman scores OT winner as Warriors take Game 3 victory over Portland

Moose Jaw now a single win from WHL Championship after 4-3 victory in Game 3, Game 4 at Moose Jaw Events Centre on Wednesday night
Warriors defenceman Lucas Brenton celebrates after scoring the opening goal in Game 3

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM -- The Moose Jaw Warriors are a win away from a Western Hockey League championship.

Brayden Schuurman scored with 2:20 gone in overtime to give Moose Jaw a 4-3 victory in Game 3 of the WHL Championship Final on Tuesday night at the Moose Jaw Events Centre, giving the Warriors a three-games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven series.

As a result, the Warriors can claim the first WHL Championship in team history on Wednesday night when Game 4 drops the puck at 8 p.m.

The Warriors immediately began to get pressure off the opening face-off, and that quickly led to the first penalty of the game when Portland’s Luca Cagnoni tripped up Martin Rysavy in the Winterhawks’ zone 1:23 into the contest.

Portland would end up with the best chance just as the penalty expired, with Jackson Unger pressed into making a save on James Stefan in close.

Not long after, the Warriors had the first goal of the game.

Rilen Kovacevic sent a cross-crease backdoor pass to a wide-open Lucas Brenton pinching in from the point, and the Warriors overager would make no mistake putting a shot home with 4:22 gone in the opening frame.

Portland didn’t take long to get that one back.

A great play off the rush led to Ryan Miller sending Tyson Yaremko in on a breakaway and he’d slip a shot home five-hole to tie the game 1-1 at 6:41.

A high-sticking penalty to Gabe Klassen put the Warriors back on the power play with 6:59 gone in the first, but much like the first man advantage, Portland had the better scoring chances, and they’d put one to good use to take the lead.

Nate Danielson and James Stefan worked the puck into the Warriors zone, leading to Danielson having all sorts of time and space to tuck the puck around Jackson Unger for a 2-1 Winterhawks lead with 8:34 gone in the first.

Portland received their first power play with 7:05 to play in the opening frame when Brayden Yager was hit with a slashing penalty, but it was the Warriors who had the best chance early on when Matthew Savoie nearly put home a shot during a scramble in front of Portland’s Jan Spunar.

The Warriors penalty kill got the job done from there, keeping it a one-goal game.

Portland continued to create pressure as the period progressed, leading to Unger making a handful of big saves.

Spunar ended up with the biggest stop of the period with 10 seconds to play, though, getting across to make a great glove save on Denton Mateychuk on a perfect feed from Savoie.

A hooking penalty to Portland’s Josh Davies on Mateychuk behind the Warriors net led to the Warriors’ third man advantage of the game with three minutes gone in the second period, and this time they’d capitalize.

Savoie found Mateychuk with a feed in the high slot, and his shot would go off Spunar and in to tie the game 2-2 at 3:37.

The Warriors looked to have the go-ahead goal with 2:41 remaining in the second, with Jagger Firkus just missing on a lacrosse- style goal attempt, leading to Savoie gloving the puck into the net. A quick review saw the goal called back, but Cagnoni caught a high sticking penalty on the same play, and the Warriors would get one for real.

Mateychuk once again did the honours, taking a feed at the point and ripping a shot home low blocker side with 2:30 remaining in the frame. The goal was the Warrior captain’s 11th of the playoffs and also saw Yager pick up his second assist of the game.

A late penalty to Marcus Nguyen put the Warriors on the power play early in the third, but a slashing call to Firkus 25 seconds into the period erased that chance. The Warriors would successfully kill off the minor to keep it a one-goal game.

Portland caught a break on the game-tying goal with 3:56 gone in the third. Marcus Nguyen got off a shot from the point that redirected off a defender in front and into the Warriors net, tying the game 3-3.

A nifty individual effort by Kovacevic with 5:40 to play in the third led to Tyson Jugnauth being forced to take an interference penalty to prevent a breakaway, but the Warriors wouldn’t have any scoring chances until the final seconds of the power play.

That would mark the final scoring chances for either team in regulation, and for the the eighth time in the 2024 post-season, the Warriors were off to overtime.

There, Schuurman would emerge as the overtime hero. Kovacevic got off a shot from the slot that went off the crossbar, right to Schuurman at the side of the net, and he’d make no mistake putting it home with 2:20 gone in the extra frame.

The victory was the third straight overtime win for the Warriors in the postseason.

Unger finished with 30 saves to earn the victory, Spunar finished with 32 stops.

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