Prince Albert, SK — A shorthanded Moose Jaw Warriors squad couldn’t come away with a win in northern Saskatchewan.
Moose Jaw dropped a 4-0 game to the Prince Albert Raiders to open the 2023-24 regular season on Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre.
“They score an early goal in the third and it just takes the wind out of our sails,” Warriors forward Atley Calvert said. “It’s early in the year, but definitely can’t be letting that happen too often, or again.”
Three goals early in the third period for the Raiders turned a close game in their favour after the Warriors battled hard through 40 minutes to keep the game close.
“We thought Both the first and second went pretty well, I thought we weathered the storm pretty well, that first 5-6 minutes of the game and then started to find out forecheck and started to make plays,” Warriors assistant coach Curtis Pereverzoff said.
“We obviously lost that there towards the third period.”
The Warriors were able to generate some quality scoring chances through the first 40 minutes, but were unable to finish.
Calvert said getting inside in front of the net will be key moving forward.
“We got to get pucks up top and then try to get pucks through, Prince Albert did a good job of blocking shots and getting in lanes, so it definitely wasn’t easy,” he said. “If we do a little better job of that tomorrow, then we’ll have more scoring opportunities.”
The Raiders put the Warriors under pressure early in the game, taking an 8-0 lead on the shot clock, but Jackson Unger was equal to the task, keeping the game scoreless.
That’s how the game would stay until midway through the second period when Prince Albert’s Justice Christensen would open the scoring.
The game remained tight heading into the third, but the Raiders broke the game open with goals Aiden Oiring, Krzysztof Macias and Ryder Ritchie in the opening five minutes of the third.
Unger turned away 43 shots in the loss for Moose Jaw as the Warriors were outshot 47-28, including 23-4 in the third period.
The Warriors finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Patrik Kral, Pavel McKenzie and Andrej Tomasec made their WHL debuts in the opener for the Warriors.
The Warriors will look to bounce back when they return to the friendly confines of the Hangar for the Mad Greek Home Opener on Saturday night. Moose Jaw welcomes in the Brandon Wheat Kings for their home debut in 2023-24. You can hear the game with the voice of the Warriors' James Gallo beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Country 100.
“It will be good, it should be a good crowd and it’s always exciting playing at home,” Calvert said.
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