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Overtime win moves Warriors to one win away from first ever WHL championship


The Moose Jaw Warriors continued their dominant quest for the Ed Chynoweth Cup on Tuesday night when they sealed a 4-3 overtime victory over the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League (WHL) Championship series.

The Warriors now have a 3-0 series lead over the Winterhawks and have the opportunity to win it all at home Wednesday night in game four.

“I feel like I’ve been asked this throughout my whole career and especially in this playoff [run] about greatness and everything like that and I feel like [the opportunity to win at home] gives us a little extra boost,” Warriors’ captain, Denton Mateychuk said following the win.

Mateychuk recorded two goals in Tuesday’s victory.

Head coach, Mark O’Leary, is keeping a calm demeanour heading into Wednesday night as he looks to lead his team to their first WHL championship in franchise history.

“Stay present in the moment. Don’t get too ahead of ourselves. We know it’s the hardest one to win. We know who we’re playing, it’s a heck of a hockey team over there. We’ll get their best effort and it’s the same mindset that we always have,” said O’Leary.

The Warriors took an early lead just over four minutes into the first period of game three when Lucas Brenton capitalized off a pass in front of the net from Rilen Kovacevic to make it 1-0.

Just a few minutes later the Winterhawks answered back with a breakaway goal from forward Tyson Yaremko to make it 1-1 with just over 13 minutes to go in the first.

Winterhawks’ forward, Nate Danielson, kept the momentum rolling scoring short-handed just a couple minutes late to make it 2-1.

Portland was outshooting Moose Jaw 16-12 after twenty minutes of play.

“It was kind of sloppy to be honest. I thought our effort was there, but as the game went on we got a little better. I think tomorrow will be much better just in terms of getting back to checking hard, being around the pucks with numbers, and finding a way to win,” O’Leary said.

Mateychuk tied it up just under four minutes into the second period with a power- play goal, his 10th of the playoffs to make it 2-2.

Mateychuk was not finished yet as he capitalized on another power play to take the lead with 2:30 to go in the second making it 3-2 Warriors.

“I think they came out strong tonight. It wasn’t always in our favour but we found a way to make it happen,” said Mateychuk.

After two periods Portland still lead in shots, 27-22.

However, the ice conditions were proving to be tricky as a capacity crowd and warmer spring weather caused extra water following the floods between periods. The third period had to be delayed for about seven minutes while the zamboni came back out to scrape the surface.

Once the third period got underway it did not take long for the Winterhawks to get back on the board. Just under four minutes in, Portland’s Marcus Nguyen tied the game, 3-3. However, it was the lone goal of the third as this game would need overtime to determine the winner.

Just two minutes and twenty seconds into extra time Moose Jaw Warriors forward, Brayden Schuurman, was the hero as he was able to capitalize and lead his team to a 4-3 victory and 3-0 series lead.

“It was just a quick transition with my line. [Ethan] Semeniuk brought it down that right side. Made a nice play in the middle to [Rilen] Kovacevic and he got a quick shot on net. I think I happen to bat it out of the air and it went in the net. It was a pretty good feeling,” Schuurman described.

Wednesday will be a big night for Moose Jaw when they take to the ice and the team is not taking the task at hand lightly.

“The mindset doesn’t really change. Whether it’s game four of the regular season or game four of the finals, we just have to keep the same mentality. We just have to go out there and get the job done,” Mateychuk said.

Puck drop for game four is 8 p.m. Saskatchewan time. The game will also be broadcast live on TSN. Top Stories

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