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Moose Jaw Warriors take 3-1 series lead over Swift Current Broncos


The Moose Jaw Warriors are one win away from advancing to the eastern conference final after their 5-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday night.

Despite the fact the Warriors took a 3-1 series lead, the team is still taking it game by game.

“Whether we win or lose, it’s a fresh slate. There’s no momentum game to game. We review what went well tonight, what we can clean up, we try to be good in the areas that we weren’t,” said Warriors head coach Mark O’Leary following the win.

The Broncos struck first just as they have done in every game so far in the series with a goal from forward Conor Geekie just under the halfway mark of the first period. The goal marked his fifth of the playoffs.

“That’s not something that we want to make a habit of, getting behind in this series but again I can’t talk about the resiliency enough with this group. I don’t feel like we’re ever out of the game,” O’Leary said.

Warriors’ forward Ethan Hughes answered back with his first goal of the playoffs with just under three minutes to go in the opening period to make it 1-1.

“I think obviously all three lines, obviously our fourth line’s shifted here and there. But whenever you can have three lines rolling, you can stay fresh. We’re a deep team and that’s part of our identity,” said forward, Brayden Yager on the multiple players finding the score sheet this series.

It was a tight matchup as the shots were even at 10 a piece for both teams after 20 minutes of play.

Just over two minutes into the second period, Swift Current regained their lead when Caleb Wyrostok found the back of the net for his third goal of the post-season.

“We put in a well thought game and we both did. It was a hard battle, good playoff hockey but at the end of the day, you have to put the puck in the net,” said Broncos’ forward, Conor Geekie, following the loss.

But once again, the Warriors found a way to keep themselves in the game. Jagger Firkus nabbed his fifth goal of the playoffs to tie it up with just under eight minutes to go in the second period.

With 2:49 to go in the second period, a delayed goal call caused some confusion and questions from both teams as the Broncos hoped to jump back into the lead heading into the final period. The call on the ice was a goal but was eventually challenged and overturned. The score remained 2-2 with under three to go.

Swift Current had 13 shots for a total of 23 compared to Moose Jaw’s 14 for a total of 24 after forty minutes.

“I think we have a resilient group that doesn’t let us get too high, doesn’t let us get too low. We wanted to limit some of the rushes that were coming at us. I thought at times we were just getting a little too low and giving too many chances. So we just want to limit that,” said Taras McEwen, Broncos’ interim head coach.

For the first time in the game, the Warriors took the lead after Brayden Yager capitalized on a one timer from Jagger Firkus. It was 3-2 for Moose Jaw with just under 15 minutes remaining in regulation. Yager assisted Firkus’ goal earlier in the game.

“I honestly didn’t think our first 40 minutes were out best. Obviously we knew that going into the third, we had a chance to take a pretty important lead in the series and give ourselves a chance to win at home (on Friday in game five),” Yager shared.

Warriors’ forward Rilen Kovacevic’s breakaway goal with just under 10 minutes remaining would serve as the insurance piece Moose Jaw needed to take a 4-2 lead.

Tensions began to flare between the two teams and the sold out crowd was taking in every second of it. Both fan bases were loud and proud all game long.

“Obviously we got a good crowd here. Good section of Warriors fans. We could hear the chants in the crowd, ‘Go Warriors go.’ Once we get the whole building screaming, ‘Go Warriors go,’ it’s going to be pretty crazy,” said Yager, looking forward to game five on Friday.

An empty net goal from Firkus would serve as the final score of the night for a 5-2 victory. The Broncos now find themselves in elimination territory and the Warriors are hoping to move on to face the Saskatoon Blades who swept their series against the Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday.

The Broncos are not throwing in the towel just yet.

“I think everyone understands what they have to do. We all have a role and we all know how to play. We have to put our best foot forward and play some scrambly hockey. I think if any group’s going to come back, it’s this one,” Geekie stated.

“All year we’ve played a lot of tight games, gone through some battles. This group has been battle tested the last couple of years. They’re a group that doesn’t have the playoff experience but has good experience in tight games. They’re a group that wants to keep playing. I trust our leadership group to show up to the rink and make sure we’re focused,” McEwen added.

However, the thought of closing out the series and in front of a home crowd will serve as plenty of motivation for the Warriors.

“I think it’s a good team and so I think we just play like we have in the past three games. I think it gives ourselves a good chance to win. Their backs are against the wall and they’re not going to quit,” Yager said.

“Nothing to do with Saskatoon (winning their series) at all. I just think the earlier you can end it obviously rest is a weapon if you have the opportunity. We don’t want to go there yet. Still have Swift Current and have a job to do Friday,” O’Leary shared.

Puck drop for game five in Moose Jaw is slated for 7 p.m. on Friday and is expected to be another sellout. Top Stories

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