As they prepare to start the second half of the Western Hockey League season, the Moose Jaw Warriors sit on top of the overall standings with a record of 27-6-1-1 (56 points).
Moose Jaw is four points up the Swift Current Broncos for top spot in the East Division, Eastern Conference and the WHL, and the next closest Western Conference team is the Everett Silvertips, who are 12 points back.
The Warriors have enjoyed success through the first 35 games of the season, but how does it compare to past great teams in franchise history?
The 2003-04 Warriors captured the organization’s first East Division title, but went on to lose in the second round of the WHL Playoffs to the Red Deer Rebels. They finished the season with a record of 41-22-1 (91 points) and were 22-8-1 at home and 19-14 on the road.
The 2005-06 Warriors captured the East Division title with a record of 44-20-5-3 (96 points). That team was the first and only one in franchise history to appear in the WHL Final, where they lost to the Vancouver Giants in four games. They had a home record of 27-6-2-1 and were 17-14-3-2 on the road.
In 2011-12, the Warriors opened Mosaic Place with the organization’s best regular season, posting a record of 45-19-6-2 (98 points) and went all the way to the Eastern Conference Final, where they lost to the Edmonton Oil Kings. They had the Warriors’ best home record in franchise history at 30-3-2-1 and went 15-16-4-1 on the road.
This year’s edition of the Warriors currently have a record of 27-6-1-1 which tops the other three teams at this point in the season. In 2011-12, the Warriors were 22-9-3-1 at the break; in 2005-06, they were 21-11-2-1 going into Christmas; while the 2003-04 team was 11-4 with an addition four ties.
Through the first half of the season this year’s Warriors have a record of 15-2-1-1 at home, which is second to the 2011-12 Warriors, who were 16-3-2-1. In 2005-06 they were 13-2-1-1 at home, while the 2003-04 team was 11-4 with four addition ties.
In 2016-17, the Warriors set a franchise road record by going 20-13-3 and this season, the Warriors are 12-4 away from Mosaic Place. Going into the break in 2011-12 the Warriors were 6-6-1 on the road; the 2005-06 team was 8-9-1-1; while the 2003-04 squad was 6-7-1 with two addition ties.
At the break this year, the Warriors currently have the highest scoring offence in the WHL with 159 goals, which is nine more than the Victoria Royals.
Comparing to previous Warriors teams, the 2005-06 team had 135 goals at the break; the 2011-12 team scored 121; while the 2003-04 team had just 105.
So far this season the Warriors have allowed 106 goals, which is the sixth fewest in the WHL and the third fewest in the Eastern Conference, behind Swift Current (98) and Brandon (105).
This year’s total ranks third among the Warriors teams of the past. The 2003-04 Warriors allowed just 87 goals through 35 games, they also had six shutouts at the break. The 2005-06 Warriors allowed 104 goals, while the 2011-12 team had given up 138 goals.
This year’s team has the highest goals for/goals against differential at 53, that’s followed by the 2005-06 team at 31; then the 2003-04 at 18; while the 2011-12 team was -17.
The numbers show that this year’s team is off to a great start compared to other great Warriors teams, but it’s the second half of the season and the playoffs where they’ll leave their mark on the organization.
The Warriors return from the break on Wednesday when they head to Swift Current. They’re back at home on Thursday for a rematch for the Broncos. They close out their 2018 schedule with a home-and-home series against Brandon, which starts on Saturday in Manitoba and ends on New Year’s Eve at Mosaic Place.