Last season, the Moose Jaw Warriors won just twice when trailing after two periods.
The Warriors earned their first win of the 2023-24 season in dramatic comeback fashion on Wednesday night, scoring three times in the third period to beat the Regina Pats, 4-3.
“We didn’t have the best first period and we weren’t happy with that, we came out hard in the second and third,” Warriors forward Eric Alarie, who scored the game-winner, said.
“We were just more ready in the second and third.”
Jagger Firkus returned the Warriors’ lineup after attending training camp with the Seattle Kraken. He scored the opening goal of the night and finished with three points in the win.
Alarie and Atley Calvert each picked up a goal and two points.
Warriors goalie Jackson Unger was stellar in the win, making 34 saves on the night, including 16 in the first period as the Warriors worked to find their footing in the game.
“[Jackson] came up big for us and made some huge saves to keep us in the game, if he didn’t make those 16 saves during the first period, I don’t think we could have come back,” Alarie said.
“Jackson did a great job of keeping us in the game, especially early, weathering the storm.. credit to him for just bouncing back, coming into Regina and just doing a job for us,” Warriors assistant coach Curtis Pereverzoff said.
The Warriors and Pats were tied at 1-1 after one, but Regina took a 2-1 advantage heading into the third period.
Lynden Lakovic scored his second of the season to pull the Warriors even with the Pats early in the final frame.
Then, Alarie finished off a great feed from Firkus on the power play with 4:19 to play in regulation.
Calvert scored into an empty net with 56 seconds to play to seal the win.
Pereverzoff said the turnaround for the Warriors in the game came in the neutral zone.
“Turnovers in the neutral zone, turnovers at the blue line and next thing you know, it’s coming back in our quickly, so that was one thing that we wanted to hammer home, was making sure we did a better job of just getting those pucks in deep and allowing our forwards to go in on the forecheck,” he said.
“I thought through line one, two, three and four, they got better as the game went on and we got a good result because of it.”
The Warriors finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play and killed off all five of Regina’s power play chances.
Moose Jaw was outshot 36-24 on the night.
Next up for the Warriors is a home date against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night and then the team travels back into Regina for a rematch with the Pats on Saturday.