The Moose Jaw Warriors received a big boost on Tuesday night as Josh Brook suited up for the first time this season.

The 18-year-old defenceman had missed the team’s first 25 games after having surgery to repair a wrist injury suffered at Montreal Canadiens’ rookie camp.

Brook didn’t look like he missed a beat in helping the Warriors to a 7-4 win over the Victoria Royals in a battle between two division leaders.

“It took me 3-4 shifts to get back into it and then once I got back into it, I built confidence throughout the game and it started to get better and better,” said Brook.

The Canadiens’ second round pick made an immediate impact for the Warriors at both ends of the ice, finishing the game with one assist and a plus-two rating to go along with two shots.

Brook also delivered a crushing blow to Victoria Royals star forward Matthew Phillips during a power play in the second period.

“I had a lot of built up energy and just went after that it,” said Brook.

Last season was a breakout year for the Roblin, Man. product as he registered eight goals and 40 points in 69 games.  He followed that up with seven points in seven playoff games to lead the Warriors in scoring.

Inserting him back into the lineup gives the Warriors the bonafide number one defenceman that they’ve been missing all season.

“Losing Jett Woo, he was our best defenceman while Josh was out, and I forgot what a really, really good defenceman looked like on our back-end and that was Josh Brook tonight,” said Warriors head coach Tim Hunter.  “He played great for being out as long as he had, he was composed, made plays, had his head up and played physical too.”

With Woo also progressing towards a return, that will round out the Warriors’ defensive core after playing the entire first half with anywhere from one to four defencemen on the mend.

Warriors captain Brett Howden said they were able to play with more confidence with Brook back in the lineup, “We’ve been really missing him this first half of the season and it looked like he didn’t miss a beat, he was using his speed, he was making smart plays and smart passes, so it was so nice to have him back there and have that confidence booster for us,” he said.

The Warriors are the first WHL team to win 20 games this season. They return to the ice this weekend for a home-and-home with the Swift Current Broncos.

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