The beat just keeps on keeping on for the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The Warriors picked up their 15th win in their last 17 games on Friday night in Western Hockey League action, battling to a 6-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels in Red Deer.
The win sees Moose Jaw improve to 32-16-0-2, and thanks to a Medicine Hat loss in Calgary, the Warriors have now taken over sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference, two points up on Medicine Hat and five up on fourth-place Red Deer. The Warriors also have a game in hand on both teams.
The Warriors had a handful of chances right off the opening face-off before the two teams settled into a back and forth for the first 10 minutes of the game
Jagger Firkus had the best chance on a breakaway with six minutes gone, but his shot would go just wide -- something that would become a theme on the night for the Seattle Kraken prospect, as he’d have three breakaways on the night but just couldn’t find a way to be Rebels goaltender Chase Wutzke.
The Warriors would break through three minutes later while on their first power play of the game. Atley Calvert continued his hot streak with his 34th goal of the season, redirecting a shot-pass to the top of the crease from Firkus past Wutzke.
The goal extended Firkus’ ongoing point streak to 23 games, tying Denton Mateychuk for the modern day record set earlier this season. The assist was also Firkus’ 48th of the season, and combined with his 40 goals gave him 88 points -- matching his point total from last season in 21 fewer games. By the end of the night, he’d hit the 90-point plateau.
Things turned in Red Deer’s favour from there, though, and goals exactly two minutes apart from Kalan Lind and Jayce Wier would give the Rebels a 2-1 edge with 12:13 gone in the period.
The Warriors’ lethal power play went back to work late in the first, and Mateychuk would tie the game with less than a second on the clock. Brayden Yager kept the puck in the zone on a clearing attempt and put a quick shot on net as time ran down, with Mateychuk jumping on a rebound and lifting it past Wutzke glove side.
It’ll come as little surprise to find out that the Warriors currently have the top power play in the league, having at the time boosted their efficiency on the man advantage to 31.4 per cent.
The Warriors caught a bit of a break on their third goal, as a loose puck in front of the Red Deer net evaded Calvert and three Rebels defenders, only for Matthew Savoie to pick it out of the crowd and slip it far corner 3:46 into the second.
Moose Jaw began to carry the play more and more as the second period progressed, and they’d once again be rewarded in the final minute. Martin Rysavy was in the perfect spot at the top of the crease to receive a pass from Firkus for the tip home, and the Warriors had a 4-2 lead with 48 seconds to play in the frame.
Red Deer caught a huge break on their third goal when a pass from behind the net deflected off a Warrior and in, and though the goal was waved off initially a long review would give Talon Brigley the marker with 4:28 to play.
The hockey gods decided to give the Warriors that one right back just over a minute later. Calvert led a two-on-one with Savioe and sent a pass to the top of the that would redirect in to restore the two-goal lead..
Yager then scored an empty net goal with 1:56 to play to salt things away.
Carson Birnie scored a garbage time goal for Red Deer, but that would mark the end of the offence on the night.
Mateychuk capped his night with four points, giving him 12 goals and 48 points in 34 games this season and moving into the top six in defenceman scoring despite playing nearly 20 games fewer that players ahead of him.
Jackson Unger turned aside 25 shots to earn the win, while the Warriors had 25 shots on Wutzke.
The Warriors are back in action on Saturday against the Calgary Hitmen, with a special 3 p.m. start time. Next home action is Friday, Feb. 15 when the Brandon Wheat Kings are in town.