The Moose Jaw Warriors opened their three-game Alberta road trip with a hard fought 5-4 win over the Rebels in Red Deer on Saturday night.
“It was a hard fought game for sure,” Warriors assistant coach Gord Burnett said after the game. “They’re a really good hockey team over there and they play hard, our guys didn’t shy away.”
Denton Mateychuk and Daemon Hunt had a goal and three points each in the win for the Warriors.
“If we’re going to be successful, those guys are going to play big minutes and be real successful, we leaned on them, played hard and both goals were around the net,” Burnett said.
Jagger Firkus, Cordel Larson and Ryder Korczak scored the other markers on the night.
“For the most part, we capitalized on a lot of our chances,” Burnett said. “We got inside, we battled and same thing in front of our net, so really happy with that.”
The game was back-and-forth in the first period.
Ben King opened the scoring just 4:10 into the game, but the Warriors answered back when Mateychuk took a feed from Firkus and blasted home his eighth of the season just 53 seconds later for a power play goal.
The Rebels struck back again 1:44 later when Jace Isley beat Warriors goalie Jackson Unger.
Red Deer’s lead held until the Warriors’ next power play when Hunt let go of a hard wrist shot in the slot for this tenth of the season just past the midway point of the first.
The Warriors took their first lead of the game 4:50 into the second period when Firkus scored his team-leading 24th of the season.
King responded for the Rebels a few minutes after that to tie the game at 3-3 after two.
The Warriors went in front for good just 3:29 into the third when Larson scored for the third time in the past two games, scoring his eighth of the season.
Korczak sealed the win with an empty net goal with 1:32 left in regulation.
Liam Keeler would score with 21 seconds to play to put the Rebels back within one, but the Warriors held the rest of the way.
Burnett said the Warriors’ defence played a strong game.
“With our D getting back quick and move the puck out and supporting each other, we got out of our zone pretty efficiently,” he said. “We know that was going be a key to the game.”
Unger turned away 24 shots in the Warriors’ net for the win as Red Deer outshot Moose Jaw, 28-22, in the game.
The Warriors were 2-for-6 on the power play and killed off both of the Rebels’ man advantage opportunities.