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Strong second period powers Warriors to series tie with Broncos

The Moose Jaw Warriors struck back in game two of their series against the Swift Current Broncos. (Courtesy: Nick Pettigrew/Moose Jaw Warriors) The Moose Jaw Warriors struck back in game two of their series against the Swift Current Broncos. (Courtesy: Nick Pettigrew/Moose Jaw Warriors)
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One night after suffering a 7-2 loss at the hands of the Swift Current Broncos in game one of their second round WHL playoff series, the Moose Jaw Warriors responded in kind.

“We did a great job. You could tell right from when they walked in the building this morning,” Warriors head coach Mark O’Leary said post game. “Bad things happen and it’s all about what you do next. We get up quick and we punch back.”

The Warriors did most of their punching in the middle frame. Moose Jaw’s offence exploded for six second period goals to take a 7-1 lead after 40 minutes.

“I loved our response tonight, that’s huge, especially in a series like this. They took it to us yesterday and we brought a different kind of energy tonight,” said Warriors captain Denton Mateychuk.

“Their best players made some really high end plays, picking some spots. They’re a team that we know can score and has really good offensive abilities. They just got on us in the second period and built that momentum and I don’t think we did a good enough job killing that momentum,” Broncos head coach Taras McEwen said.

The Warriors came flying out of the gates dominating play for the first ten minutes before the Broncos pushed back hard. Josh Filmon opened the scoring on a well placed one-timer over the glove of Warriors goaltender Jackson Unger.

The lead was short lived, however. The Broncos employed a five forward power play that created some chances but gave up a single turnover, that resulted in a two-on-one, and a Brayden Yager goal.

The Warriors seemingly could not miss in the second period. Matthew Savoie took a slash to the hands on a partial break from Tyson Galloway, leading to a man-advantage.

It took the Warriors power play unit all of 11 seconds to capitalize when Savoie fed Yager behind the net and he jammed home a wraparound attempt to give the Warriors a 3-1 lead.

“We knew we had a good [first] period. We knew we could do better and we took it to them in the second period,” said Mateychuk of the effort.

Mateychuk scored what would be the game winner just 39 seconds later when he picked up the puck at the opposing blue line and drove down the left side, firing a shot over the outstretched glove of Reid Dyck in the Broncos goal.

Jagger Firkus, the WHL’s regular season scoring champion, added the insurance goal just over two minutes later on a one timer set up by Yager. Martin Rysavy and Kalem Parker each added singles to make it 7-1 after 40 minutes.

Reid Dyck was replaced in goal for Swift Current by back-up Joey Rocha who was marvellous in relief, stopping 14 of the 15 shots he faced, several of them were high percentage chances.

“Really good for him to get in the net and gives us confidence in him. Really happy for him to get in and play the way he did,” said McEwen of the relief effort.

Caleb Wyrostek scored the third period’s lone goal with just over five minutes to play.

The Broncos coaching staff says there was plenty to learn from game two. Both teams say they’ll take advantage of the rest between games two and three to recharge.

“There are still things we can do better. We feel good about a lot of our game right now, we just need to emulate,” said O’Leary of his Warriors.

The series now shifts to Swift Current for games three and four beginning Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

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