The Moose Jaw Warriors are chomping at the bit to get the post-season underway.
After going through the 72-game regular season, the Warriors are ready to go for their first round playoff series against the Swift Current Broncos, which opens on Friday night at Mosaic Place.
“It’s exciting, everyone’s getting ready for the playoffs, it’s going to be fun, I know there’s a lot of excitement around the city here and it should be good with a team close by, so both arenas should be packed,” said 18-year-old forward Noah Gregor.
The Warriors were able to gain some valuable playoff experience last season when they made a trip to the second round before losing in five games to the Brandon Wheat Kings.
That experience helped the team learn what it takes to win in the post-season.
“Everything gets kicked up a notch, the intensity goes from one level to another and just how hard you have to work in the playoffs,” said Gregor. “In the (Prince Albert) series, they were a hardworking team that really grinded and that made us work even harder, so that experience from last year will help us this year.”
Thanks to last year’s playoff appearance, the Warriors hold a big edge in experience heading into their series against the Broncos.
Moose Jaw has 17 players on their roster with playoff experience, including ten that have played playoff games with Warriors, while the Broncos will have 17 players making their playoff debut in this series.
The Warriors have 137 games played of experience on their roster and the Broncos have 69 games, which include 49 from goalie Jordan Papirny, who beat the Warriors in the second round and won a WHL title with the Wheat Kings last season. Papirny holds a 33-15-1 record with a 2.87 goals against average and a 0.910 save percentage.
Josh Thrower is the most experience Warrior with 22 playoff games in his career.
Experience is one thing and the Warriors know that alone won’t get them past the Broncos.
“They’re a fast team, they’ve got a lot of skill, but we’re just trying to focus on ourselves to make sure that we’re ready to go,” said defenceman Colin Paradis, who played all five games in the Warriors’ first round series last season.
If last weekend’s season-ending home-and-home between the two teams was any indication, this series between two East Division rivals should be a hard-hitting affair.
“They’ve got a few guys on that team that can hit, but we’re going to try to hit them back and make sure that we’re playing a physical game as well,” said Paradis.
The two teams will collide for Games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday at Mosaic Place. The Pre-Game Show will be on the air at 6:40 p.m. both nights on Country 100.
Tickets for the series are moving fast, get yours today by heading to the Mosaic Place Box Office, or mjwarriors.ca.