If Game 1 of the Western Hockey League first-round playoff series between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatoon Blades is anywhere near an indication of what the rest of the series will be like, fans will be in for yet another heart-stopping postseason.
Chase Wouters scored at 3:23 of overtime to cap a two-goal comeback by the Blades as they took a 3-2 win Friday night at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.
Kaeden Taphorn opened scoring at the 3:03 mark when he picked up a rebound off a shot by Luke Ormsby in front of the net and fired a quick shot home under the outstretched pad of Nolan Maier.
The Warriors were without standout rookie Brayden Tracey, who was a game-time decision and took warm-ups before deciding to sit Game 1 out. Eric Alarie, the Warriors first-round pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, took Tracey's place in the line-up.
And sure enough, Alarie filled the role, scoring his first WHL goal just over four minutes into the second period, giving the Warriors their 2-0 lead. It was an extension of his season with Rink Hockey Academy out of Winnipeg, where he scored 17 goals and 49 points in 27 games.
Max Gerlach got the Blades on the board with a power play goal at the 7:50 mark of the second period, teeing up a shot from the left faceoff dot that beat a screened Brodan Salmond.
The Warriors picked up their only power play of the game with 6:45 remaining in the first period and managed to hit a pair of goalposts but were unable to score. Moose Jaw's penalty kill ended up far busier from the the second period on, as the Tribe killed three straight Blades man advantages while battling to stay in the game.
The edge wouldn't last, though, as Riley McKay scored at 11:48 during a scramble at the side of the net, tying things up at 2-2.
Wouters then ended things in overtime, when his sharp angle shot somehow eluded Salmond on the short side and dropped into the net.
Salmond made 35 saves in taking the loss while Maier was far less busy, stopping 23 shots including only two in the third period.
The two teams are back on the ice Saturday night for Game 2. Game time is 7 p.m. in Saskatoon.