Despite having 14 players making their Western Hockey League playoff debut, the Moose Jaw Warriors didn’t show any nerves in Game 1 on Friday night.

The Warriors put together a complete team game on their way to a 5-1 win over the Saskatoon Blades at Mosaic Place.

“Going into the game, you just want to play against them hard and be physical because you have to grind them down as the series goes,” Warriors forward Jagger Firkus said.

“Everyone is laying hits, finishing their checks and that’s huge in the playoffs. We did a good job of it tonight.”

Warriors assistant coach Gord Burnett said the whole team contributed in the win.

“We didn’t just dip our toe in, I thought we got to our game pretty quickly,” he said. “I thought we started pretty well, got the nerves out pretty quick.”

Firkus scored a lacrosse goal in the first period to make it 2-0 and finished with two points in his first career playoff game.

He said he treated it like just another game.

“It’s an important game, game one of the series, but I tried to make sure I just went out and played in a game and not try to focus on that other stuff,” Firkus said.

Saskatoon came out of the gates with some early pressure, but the Warriors gained momentum from an early penalty kill.

Moose Jaw built off that and scored the opening goal when Atley Calvert tipped in a point shot from Martin Rysavy.

After another strong penalty, the Warriors went to work on the power play and Firkus brought the fans out of their seats with his most thrilling goal of the season.

“Trying to pull that goal off, it’s pretty hard, but you have to read where the defenders are and I went for it and it worked,” Firkus said.

Saskatoon opened the second period strong and were rewarded with a goal from Josh Pillar 1:18 into the frame.

The Warriors got stronger as the period went on and Max Wanner scored a highlight reel goal, driving to the net to make it 3-1 after two.

Moose Jaw pulled away in the third period when Majid Kaddoura and Ryder Korczak scored just 4:05 to finish off the win.

“We played a really solid game tonight, but we just have to keep grinding them down and keep pushing,” Firkus said.

The Warriors outshot Saskatoon 36-19 in the win as Carl Tetachuk made 18 saves to lead the victory.

Nolan Maier was chased from the net after allowing five goals on 26 shots.

The Warriors and Blades will meet for Game 2 on Saturday night at Mosaic Place.

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