Moose Jaw, SK – The Moose Jaw Warriors finished a successful regular season on a losing note on Saturday night.
Moose Jaw fell 6-3 to the Saskatoon Blades at the Moose Jaw Events Centre in the final game of the 2022-23 regular season.
“These games are always a little bit tricky, both teams not really playing for much, in saying that, you still want to play the right way and have some sort of good feeling at the end of it, especially headed into playoffs,” Warriors assistant coach Scott King said.
While the Warriors didn’t get the end result they were looking for, Atley Calvert hit a major milestone in the loss, scoring twice to tie Jagger Firkus for the team-lead with 40 goals this season.
“I knew I needed to do a little more this year, as you get older, you want to do more on your team, but I didn’t think of this,” Calvert said on hitting the 40-goal mark for the first time in his WHL career.
Calvert set a new Warriors’ franchise mark for goals by a Moose Jaw born player. He said he found success by playing a simple game.
“When I overcomplicate things, it’s not good for me, so I try and just keep it simple and play around the net,” he said.
The Warriors found themselves down 2-0 after the first period despite some good scoring opportunities, both Martin Rysavy and Firkus fired shots off the post.
Brandon Lisowsky and Jayden Wiens scored in the opening frame to give the Blades a two-goal lead after one.
Calvert scored a power play goal just 3:08 into the second period and then Logan Dowhaniuk followed that up midway through the frame to tie the game for the Warriors.
The Blades were able to respond, however, as Justin Lies and Rowan Calvert scored 1:25 apart later in the second to restore the two-goal advantage for Saskatoon.
Calvert’s second of the night came with just over eight minutes gone in the third and cut the Blades’ lead back down to one, but that was as close as the Warriors would get.
Trevor Wong answered back for the Blades less than a minute later and then he scored into an empty net in the final minute to seal the win for Saskatoon.
The Warriors finish the regular season with a 41-24-0-3 record and they will battle the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the first round of the 2023 WHL Playoffs.
“Last year was our first taste of playoff hockey, just the biggest takeaway is that you’re never out of it and there’s going to be ups and downs,” Calvert said. “The regular season matters to get into the playoffs, but at the end of the day, it’s a new season and you’ve got to come to the rink prepared.”
Game 1 of the best-of-seven series against the Hurricanes goes on Friday night at the Moose Jaw Events Centre. Get your tickets at mjwarriors.ca.