Moose Jaw, SK – The Moose Jaw Warriors put together a complete effort to secure a big win on home ice on Tuesday night.

The Warriors took Game 3 of the 2024 Eastern Conference Championship, topping the Saskatoon Blades 3-1 at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.

“That’s a huge game for us,” Warriors goalie Jackson Unger said. “In the third period, I stood tall when I needed to and I made the saves to keep us in the game and we got the result that we were looking for.”

Unger made 31 saves in the win, including 16 stops in the third, to help the Warriors take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“Things loosened up a little bit there in the third period, we gave up some looks that we didn’t like and that’s why you have a goaltender, he made some big saves,” Warriors head coach Mark O’Leary said.

While Unger provided the stops at one end, the Warriors broke through offensively at the other end.

For the third straight game, the teams went into the third period tied after Grayden Siepmann opened the scoring for Saskatoon midway through the first and Atley Calvert answered for the Warriors with a power play goal early in the second.

After plenty of chances throughout the first two periods, the Warriors flipped the game in their favour 7:14 gone in the third as Martin Rysavy buried a rebound in front for his fourth of the playoffs and the eventual game-winning goal.

“I was frustrated after the second game in Saskatoon because I had chances to score, I hit one crossbar, I missed an empty net, so I made sure today when I saw the rebound, I’m just going to slap it as hard as I can to the net,” Rysavy said after the game.

“It was an important goal and kind of a relief after the last game.”

Warriors captain Denton Mateychuk sealed the win, scoring into an empty net with 1:13 to go in regulation. It was his sixth of the playoffs.

Despite falling behind 1-0 in the first, O’Leary said the team was pleased with their start and play throughout the game.

“Anytime we’re talking about a start, nothing to do with the goals for or the goals against, it’s about playing the right way and then just trying to sustain it and I thought tonight was a good example of that,” he said.

The Warriors outshot the Blades 27-16 through two periods, but Saskatoon upped the attack in the third, outshooting Moose Jaw 16-5 in the final frame.

The Warriors finished 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Blades went 0-for-2.

Heading into Game 4 on Wednesday night, the Warriors know it a big push back will be coming from the Blades.

“Every game is the biggest game of our careers and we know what they’re capable of and this series isn’t over until it’s over,” Unger said.

The Warriors and Blades face-off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.