For the second straight game, the Moose Jaw Warriors put together a comeback to force overtime, but fell just short once again.

The Warriors lost 5-4 in overtime to the Saskatoon Blades in Game 5 of the 2024 WHL Eastern Conference Championship, presented by Nutrien.

“I’m proud of the group to see how we battled back in the third, it shows a lot going into Game 6, that we have the urgency and we can compete with these guys,” Warriors forward Jagger Firkus said.

This was the fourth time overtime was needed in the series in five games as the Blades took a 3-2 series lead.

Warriors head coach Mark O’Leary said he wasn’t surprised that the team rallied to tie the game in the third.

“It’s a group that cares, they don’t want to let each other down,” he said. “Proud of this group, we’ll be there on Sunday.”

Saskatoon scored twice in the first and added two more in the second to take a commanding 4-0 lead after two periods.

However, the Warriors mounted a massive third-period comeback, scoring three goals in the first 7:38 of the period and then tying the game with just over six minutes to go in regulation.

“In the room, we were just talking about if we get the first one, you never know what’s going to happen and once we got the first one, we kept scoring, but we came up short tonight,” Firkus said. “In playoffs, it doesn’t really matter, it’s just wins and losses, so we’ll go back home tonight and get ready for Sunday.

Denton Mateychuk led the charge with two goals in the third, while Jagger Firkus had a goal and two points on the night.

Martin Rysavy and Atley Calvert picked up two helpers each and Matthew Savoie extended his point streak to 28 games with one assist in the loss.

Fraser Minten opened the scoring for Saskatoon just 2:56 into the game and Egor Sidorov made it 2-0 just past the midway point of the first.

A power play goal from Charlie Wright put the Blades in front 3-0 just 5:06 into the second.

Bradon Lisowsky made it 4-0 for Sasktoon with 5:37 to play in the middle frame.

The Warriors came out firing to start the third and Lucas Brenton got them on the board with his first of the playoffs just 49 seconds into the period.

With 4:41 gone in the third, Firkus wired home a one-timer on the power play for his 11th of the playoffs, making it a 4-2 game.

Then Mateychuk banked one in off a Blades’ skate for his seventh of the playoffs to pull the Warriors within one with 7:38 gone in the third.

The Warriors captain would tie the game with a point shot for his eighth of the playoffs with 6:42 to go.

Neither team could find the go-ahead marker, sending the game to overtime.

Moose Jaw killed off a power play to start overtime and then another midway through the extra frame, but Minten would score the game-winner for Saskatoon with 1:45 to go in the first overtime.

Jackson Unger allowed four goals on 17 shots before being replaced by Dimitri Fortin in the second period. Fortin stopped 24 of 25 shots he faced over the final 43 minutes of action.

Moose Jaw out-shot Saskatoon, 43-42, overall in the game.

The loss pushes the Warriors to the brink of elimination for the first time in the post-season.

O’Leary said the team is ready to fight back.

“Be excited, we’re coming home and we’re playing good hockey,” he said. “We give an effort like that again, we’ll be fine.”

The Warriors and Blades will meet for Game 6 at the Moose Jaw Events Centre on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.