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Three-goal third period leads to Warriors win in Game 4, can finish series Friday

Warriors overcome 2-1 deficit early in second with four straight goals, go on to 5-2 victory in Swift Current
Rilen Kovacevic scored a key insurance goal in Game 4 on Wednesday night in Swift Current.

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM -- The Moose Jaw Warriors will have a chance to finish off the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal at home on Friday night.

The Warriors battled to a 5-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in Swift Current on Wednesday, taking a three-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven series.

As a result, they can wrap things up when the two teams take the ice at a sold-out Moose Jaw Events Centre on Friday.

Both teams came out firing in the first five minutes, and both teams had great scoring chances early -- including breakways by Swift Current’s Mathew Ward and Moose Jaw’s Jagger Firkus -- but Warriors goaltender Jackson Unger and Broncos’ netminder Reid Dyck would both make big saves to keep things scoreless.

As has been the case in every game in the series, Swift Current would open scoring, as Conor Geekie got off a long-range shot along the ice that found the blocker-side corner on Jackson Unger 8:17 into the period.

The Broncos continued to press as the period progressed, dominating zone time in the process, but an offensive zone turnover would lead to the Warriors’ first goal.

A three-on-one from the Warriors’ blueline .ed to Matthew Savoie finding a trailing Ethan Hughes, and his shot from the right face-off circle would beat Dyck to tie the game 1-1 with 2:24 remaining in the frame.

Swift Current came out flying in the second period and didn’t let the Warriors out of their zone for the first three minutes, and a bad turnover led to their second goal. Caleb Wyrostok picked off an outlet pass and walked into the high slot before beating Unger blocker side 2:04 into the frame.

Dyck was pressed into service four minutes into the period when Matthew Savoie went in on a short breakaway but he couldn’t sneak a shot home five hole.

The Warriors began to get things going as the period progressed, forcing Dyck to make a few more big saves before they broke through again.

A face-off win by Brayden Yager led to Kalem Parker getting off a shot from the point, and the rebound would go right to Jagger Firkus at the  side of the net for the tying goal with 7:38 remaining.

The Warriors started to carry the play as the period progressed, but it would be the Broncos who looked like they had the go-ahead goal with 2:49 remaining. Geekie got off a shot in the slot that went off the crossbar but was initially called a goal, leading to a lengthy review before it was waved off.

Moose Jaw then took their first lead of the game 5:05 into the third. FIrkus forced a neutral zone turnover and went in on a two-on-one with Yager, and the Pittsburgh Penguins first rounder would finish the playoff with a perfect shot top shelf from the high slot.

Unger went to work from there, making a series of big saves as the period progressed, and with 10:03 remaining, his teammates would give him a cushion.

Rilen Kovacevic extended the lead to 4-2 on a nifty individual effort, dipsy doodling around Broncos defenceman Tyson Galloway and putting home a shot glove side.

The Broncos pulled Dyck with just over four minutes remaining and Firkus would quickly score on a long shot from his own zone to give the Warriors a three-goal lead.

Unger capped a stellar night with 36 saves, while the Warriors had 30 shots on Dyck.

Should the Warriors win Friday night, they’ll face the Saskatoon Blades in the Eastern Conference final after Saskatoon defeated Red Deer 7-0 to finish off that best-of-seven with a sweep.

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