Despite facing a quick turnaround on the road, the Moose Jaw Warriors didn’t miss a beat in their Western Hockey League contest in Calgary on Saturday afternoon.
With both teams hitting the ice at the Saddledome barely 18 hours after having played the night before, the Warriors would control play much of the game and go on to a 5-2 victory over the Hitmen.
Moose Jaw improved to 33-16-0-2 with the win and have now moved four points clear of Medicine Hat for second place in the Eastern Conference, pending the outcome of the game between the Tigers and Red Deer later Saturday.
The victory also ran the Warriors’ current win streak to five games, in addition to 16 wins in their last 18 games.
For all that positivity, the Warriors had some bad news before opening face-off, as Buffalo Sabres first-rounder Matthew Savoie suffered an injury in warm-ups and was unable to take the ice on Saturday afternoon. There was no word as to the type or severity of the injury.
That didn’t keep Moose Jaw from getting off to a great start, though, as some early pressure led to Brayden Schuurman opening scoring 2:24 into the game. Schuurman’s shot from the right face-off circle was stopped by Calgary goaltender Ethan Buenaventura, but the puck would pop into the air and drop into the net for his 15th of the campaign.
Calgary tied the game five minutes later when Brandon Gorzynski took a shot from the point that Warriors netminder Evan May got a piece of, only for it to slip into the corner of the net.
Much like their game in Red Deer a handful of hours earlier, the Warriors would get out of the first period with the lead thanks to a late-period goal.
Defenceman Cosmo Wilson did the honours this time, with his shot from the point finding its way through traffic and past Buenaventura with two seconds to play.
That goal set the tone for the second period, and the Warriors would have steady and regular pressure throughout the frame.
It eventually led to the Warriors third goal with 6:03 to play, as Rilen Kovacevic was rewarded for going hard to the net when he deflected a shot by Atley Calvert home.
The offensive chances never let up as the period continued, and that led to a couple more Moose Jaw goals before the frame was out.
Kalem Parker scored off the rush with 1:55 to play in the frame and Brayden Yager capped a shift filled with a ridiculous number of opportunities by wiring home a one-timer from the slot with 14 seconds left in the period.
Jagger Firkus picked up the second assist on the play, extending his point streak to 24 games and set a modern-day Warriors record. The streak is also the longest ongoing run of its kind in the WHL. Firkus continues to lead the WHL in scoring with 91 points in 46 games.
The Warriors essentially put things into cruise control in the third period, and Calgary would have more chances as the flow of play was more balanced, but would get a single marker.
Maxim Muranov scored 53 seconds into the period for the Hitmen, but that would mark the end of scoring on the night.
Schuurman ended up with an outstanding game in general, picking up a goal and two points, going plus two and winning 13 of his 18 faceoffs on the night.
May had to be solid in the third period and he was, stopping 16 shots and facing 37 in total. The Warriors had 26 shots on Buenaventura through two periods and eight on Alex Garrett in the third.
Moose Jaw is back in action on Thursday night when the Brandon Wheat Kings are in town. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.