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Pats down Warriors to open WHL pre-season action

Wright scores twice as Regina takes 3-1 win in exhibition game at Mosaic Place
The Moose Jaw Warriors had a quick look at their future in their first exhibition game of the 2019-20 Western Hockey League campaign on Tuesday night at Mosaic Place.

And while the end result might not have been ideal, when you’re simply trying to evaluate players and build your team for the coming season, wins aren’t as important as what happens on the ice.

Garrett Wright scored two goals 2:31 apart midway through the first period as the Regina Pats picked up a 3-1 victory over the Tribe to open the WHL pre-season.

Josh Hoekstra scored the lone goal for the Warriors 1:33 into the second period, and it came from pure hustle – after Atley Calvert’s shot from the blueline deflected off a Pats defender and off the backboards, Hoekstra outraced everyone to the puck and lifted a nifty backhand over Regina goaltender Matthew Pesenti to get the Tribe within one.

The goal was Hoekstra’s first in a Warriors uniform.

“It was an unbelievable experience, I wasn’t expecting it coming in as a young guy but I had the push for it, I saw the chance and I took it,” Hoekstra told “It’s a great feeling.”

The contest also marked the first time the Warriors had hit the ice against an opponent other than themselves, with Hoekstra noticing the uptick in intensity even without the oldest veterans on the ice.

“The pace just jumps that much more and you have adjust that much quicker,” Hoekstra said. “If you don’t you get left behind. It was a pretty big jump.”

As could be expected, there is a lot for the team to work on in coming weeks, with the Warriors 2018 Bantam Draft selection picking up on a couple of immediate needs

“I’d like to see us work on our breakouts, get the puck out a little more efficiently and not get hemmed in our zone,” Hoekstra said. “And when we get in the o-zone, get more pucks on net.”

Hayden Delorme scored the third goal for Regina at the 4:29 mark of the second.

Brett Mirwald got the start in goal for Moose Jaw and turned aside 30 shots, while the Warriors fired nine at Pesenti and 13 at mid-game replacement Matthew Kieper.

The Warriors are back in action during the Pat pre-season tournament this weekend, taking on the Swift Current Broncos on Friday afternoon and Saskatoon Blades on Saturday, with both games at 3 p.m. at the Brandt Centre.

Next home action is Saturday, Sept. 7 as the Warriors host the Prince Albert Raiders (7 p.m., Mosaic Place).

Overtime… both the Warriors’ Black White intrasquad game and the rookie contest featured admission by donation, with all proceeds going to the Canadian Mental Health Association in the memory of Ethan Williams. A total of $6,017 was raised through the two contests… the Warriors announced six player signings out of training camp, with Moose Jaw minor hockey product Atley Calvert leading the list of forwards that includes Jagger Firkus, Bryden Kiesman and Kade Runke. They’re joined by defenceman Max Wanner and goaltender Kyle Kelsey in signing a Standard Player Agreement.

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