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Tops in the league: AAA Warriors take over sole possession of first place

Weekend wins in Yorkton propel Moose Jaw over Contacts into top spot in the SMAAAHL
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The Moose Jaw AAA Warriors took over sole possession of first place in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League this past weekend.
The Moose Jaw AAA Warriors have been knocking on the door for almost a month, and this past weekend it finally happened.

Welcome to first place, all alone, in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.

The Warriors took 6-3 and 3-0 wins over the Yorkton Maulers in league action this past weekend to improve to 19-6-1-0 on the season, moving two points clear of the Saskatoon Contacts and Saskatoon Blazers for top spot in the 12-team league.

It’s been an impressive run for the local squad in their first season under head coach Trevor Weisgerber as they continue to show wholesale improvement in a stunningly short amount of time.

“At the beginning of the year we weren’t sure, we figured we had a good team and we’d always talk and say that once we got accustomed to our systems and the guys were around and playing with each other things might take off,” Weisgerber said. “We worked on things and we knew with our group and how hard we worked, the more we played we’d be getting better.

“I’m not sure we could say we’d be in this situation, but a lot of that credit goes to the guys with how hard they’ve worked and bought in.”

The opening contest on Saturday night was much as it has been every night as of late, as the Warriors built a 5-0 lead over Yorkton before the Maulers rallied with three power play goals in the third period to make things interesting.

“They played us pretty tough, they have a pretty good team down there and from what I hear they had a bunch of injuries, but they came out hard both games,” Weisgerber said.

Ethan Peters would finish the game with two goals and an assist while linemates Caelan Fitzpatrick and Connor McGrath each had a goal and two helpers.

Kyle Forster added a goal and an assist as the Warriors took a 2-0 lead out of the first and led 4-0 through two. Ben Wourms-Rowe added their other marker.

Dylan Ernst was his usual solid self in goal, turning aside 19 shots.

The rematch Sunday afternoon was close from the get go.

“Then today was a battle, we had to work for everything,” Weisgerber said. “The guys played well all game and we kind of stuck with it. They battled hard and it was a tough road game and we were happy with how the guys played for sure.”

The game was scoreless after the first before Kirk Mullen opening scoring 9:40 into the second. Lucius Schmidt would add an insurance marker with 4:48 to play in the game and Wourms-Rowe potted an empty netter to finish things off.

Ernst made 25 saves to pick up his third shutout of the season.

With first place in hand, the Warriors will now step into a crucible to defend it: they face the last team to hand them a loss in the Notre Dame Hounds on Thursday (7 p.m., Mosaic Place) before taking on the Contacts on Saturday (1:30 p.m., Mosaic Place) and fourth-place Regina Pat Canadians – who sit only a point back of the Saskatoon teams – on Sunday (1:30 p.m., Mosaic Place) before travelling to Saskatoon to face the Contacts and close out the first half of the season on Dec. 19.

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