Three days off doesn’t seem like much, but it was much needed for the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The Warriors will return to the ice on Saturday night to host the Prince Albert Raiders at Mosaic Place. It will be the first game in four days for the WHL-leading squad, who previously played five games over seven days, ending with Tuesday’s 7-6 overtime win against the Saskatoon Blades.
“It’s nice to get out here, rest a couple of guys that needed some rest and get back into practice and get back to some things that we need to execute on going into this weekend,” said forward Noah Gregor, who sits third on the team with 31 points in 22 games this season.
Moose Jaw has been playing some stellar hockey over the course of the season as they currently sit in top spot in the Western Hockey League with 19 wins in 24 games, which puts them five wins ahead of their franchise-record setting season in 2011-12.
Their past few outings however haven’t been spectacular despite the team sitting on a three-game winning streak. Gregor said the team’s offence has been clicking, but the entire team needs to clean up the defensive zone.
“We’ve been giving up a lot of goals to teams that we shouldn’t be giving up that many goals to,” he said. “We’ve talked about when you come into the front of the net, you just can’t be there, you’ve got to be involved, pick up a guy or pick up a stick.”
The few days off were great for fine tuning areas of their game as a team overall and individual.
Goalie Brody Willms has been one of the top goalies in the WHL this season with 15 wins to go along with a 2.95 goals against average and a 0.905 save percentage, while playing 20 games.
“We were looking forward to getting a strong week of practice in before our next game, we were in stretch there where we weren’t able to practice a whole lot,” said Willms.
“You get the time to pick your game apart a bit in practice and work on things there, it’s harder to do during games obviously, so to get back into practice and do that was nice.”
The Warriors will host the Raiders on Saturday. Prince Albert enters the game on a four-game losing streak, but holding down the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Moose Jaw has won all four meetings between the two teams, sweeping their home-and-home on the opening weekend and picking up two more wins earlier this month.
Gregor said they won’t be taking the Raiders lightly, “They’re always intense games (against Prince Albert) and they’ve been getting better over the course of the year, they’ve got a pretty strong team, so it should be an exciting game,” he said.
The Warriors and Raiders hit the ice at 7 p.m. Saturday night. The Pre-Game Show is on the air at 6:40 p.m. on Country 100.