Moose Jaw went into Swift Current and fell 7-2 to the Broncos to kick-off the exhibition schedule.

“It’s important that you take a deep breath and really take the game for what it is, it’s just another step in our preparation for the regular season and for a lot of the young kids, it’s an exciting night whether we lost the way we did, but there’s some positives to build on,” Warriors head coach Mark O’Leary said.

The game saw seven players make their Western Hockey League preseason debuts.

Warriors’ 2023 first round pick Aaron Sawatzky said it was a good first taste of what the WHL is about.

“Obviously not the result we wanted with the scoreboard, but I thought it was a good game, it was my first game out here and I thought it went well,” he said.

“I like playing fast, that’s my game, so I thought it was really good that way for sure.”

O’Leary felt like the Warriors’ young players handled the ups and downs of the game well.

“I thought as far as those guys are concerned, what was the best was their growth throughout the game,” he said. “The score is what it is, but just in terms of following the plan and finding success within it, I thought it was great.”

Harper Lolacher and Ethan Semeniuk scored for the Warriors in the loss.

The game was tied at one after one, but the Broncos broke it open with two goals in the second and then added four in the third for the win.

O’Leary said there’s lessons that the Warriors can take away from the game that will help them build towards the regular season.

“You practice certain structure, you talk about things, but there’s nothing like live bullets and having some success, having some failures and regrouping and try to do better next time,” he said.

Dimitri Fortin started the game in net for the Warriors and made eight saves on nine shots, while Josh Banini turned away eight of 13 shots in th second half of the game.

Moose Jaw finished the night with 25 shots and went 0-for-6 on the power play.

The Warriors will be back in action on Saturday night when they travel to Assiniboia for a sold-out rematch with the Broncos at the Southland Co-op Centre.

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