The Moose Jaw Warriors could be on the verge of rarified air for the local Western Hockey League franchise – even if it might not seem unusual given the high-scoring success of recent teams.
With forward Justin Almeida (27-68-95) only five points away from cracking the 100-point mark and Tristin Langan having hit the century last weekend, the Tribe will likely find themselves with a pair of 100-point-plus scorers for only the third time in team history.
The Warriors have had plenty of 100-point players over the years, especially in the 80s and mid-90s with the likes of Theoren Fleury, Curtis Brown and Ryan Smyth patrolling the Civic Centre ice, as well as the last four seasons between Dryden Hunt, Jayden Halbgewachs and Langan. But having a second player reach that level in the same season has proven difficult, regardless of how much of a standout they may be.
Interestingly enough, the only other time prior to Jayden Halbgewachs (70-59-129) and Brayden Burke (31-82-113) last season came in the Tribe’s inaugural 1984-85 season – Mark MacKay scored 66 goals and 143 points to lead the team while Kent Hayes had 114 points. They were close the following year when Fleury had 108 points and Hayes 92, and again 1989-90 when Rob Harvey put up 102 points to go along with 93 from Jerome Bechard.
The 1990-91 campaign takes the cake, though – Derek Kletzel led the Warriors in scoring with an even 100 points. Rob Reimer missed the mark by a single point, finishing with 99.
Given his current run of success, the 19-year-old Almeida should have a realistic shot at the century mark: with four goals and 16 points in his last seven games, he’s among the top scoring players in the WHL over that span of time.
The Warriors have six games remaining on their schedule and will knock three of those off this weekend. They are in action Friday night for the first game of a home-and-home series with the Regina Pats in Regina, with the return game set for Saturday (7 p.m., Mosaic Place). They close out the weekend in Saskatoon against the Blades on Sunday.