367 days since their last game, the Moose Jaw Warriors opened the Subway East Division Hub with a 4-3 overtime win over the Brandon Wheat Kings at the Brandt Centre Friday in Regina.
Both teams battled hard throughout the first period as they looked to use the excitement of the opening game to establish a consistent attack.
Just over seven minutes into the period, 2020 Ottawa Senators 1st round pick Ridly Greig was able to control the puck along the right Warrior boards. He moved the puck cross-ice to the left point for Chad Nychuk who let a shot go that was deflected by Ben McCartney to give the Wheat Kings the lead.
Moose Jaw took several penalties throughout the opening period, and that led to a Brandon two-man advantage for 92 seconds early in the second.
The Warriors penalty killers dug in deep and kept the Wheat Kings off the board, they used that momentum to spark their offence.
Five minutes into the second period, Cade Hayes drove down the Brandon left boards and then cut to the net when he hit the goal line. Hayes was able to lift the puck over the right pad of goalie Ethan Kruger to tie the game at one.
After that, the Wheat Kings got into penalty problems, and after Greig was issued a major for a check from behind, the Warriors had a two-man advantage for 90 seconds.
Working on the 5-on-3 at 8:25, Moose Jaw jammed the puck to the net where Tate Popple pushed in his first of the season. Still on the power-play at 12:18, Eric Alarie found the back of the net to give Moose Jaw a 3-1 lead.
Brandon clawed back into the game midway through the third period.
At 10:14 and with Brandon on the powerplay, a Braden Schneider shot from the blueline went over top of the Moose Jaw net. The puck came off the glass and bounced into the Moose Jaw crease where Jake Chiasson knocked it over the goal line.
Three minutes later, Schneider, who was drafted in the 1st round by the New York Rangers in 2020, took another shot from the Warriors blueline that found its way through traffic and beat Boston Bilous to tie the game at three.
The rest of regulation did not produce another goal, which propelled the game into overtime.
1:07 into the extra period, 16-year-old rookie defenceman Denton Mateychuk tossed the puck up the ice to Tate Popple on the left-wing side. Popple drove towards the Brandon net and snapped a shot past the goalie to give the Warriors the win.
Popple finished with two goals, Eric Alarie had a goal and two points, and Brad Ginnell picked up two assists. Braden Schneider led the Wheat Kings with a goal and two points.
The Warriors have Saturday off to get ready for a Sunday battle against the Prince Albert Raiders. Catch all the action on WHL Live and on Country 100, coverage begins at 7:40pm with the PreGame Show.