The Moose Jaw Warriors will take on the Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.
The Warriors and Blades met eight times in the regular season with the Blades winning on six occasions.
“You keep that in the back of your head but it’s a new season. Playoffs is a new season so we just have to refresh and start over and make a new series,” said goaltender Carl Tetachuk.
“When we did beat them it was kind of lopsided our way. It was 7-0, and 7-1 so I think we know that we have the firepower to beat them. Just playing a full 60 minutes,” said defenseman, Denton Mateychuk.
However, the Warriors did earn the higher seed and will get home ice advantage in the series.
“I think that’s going to be key. I can’t wait to see our fans and see how loud they get,” said Ryder Korczak forward.
“Fans will help us get the momentum going for sure,” said Tetachuk.
Tetachuk was awarded the team’s “Player of the Year” award at the final home game of the regular season. The goalie is fifth in save percentage in the Western Hockey League and has tied his career-high shutouts this season with three.
“Teddy has been one of our best players all season long. He’s been our MVP [most valuable player] and I think if he’s good, we’re going to be good and that’s where it starts,” said head coach, Mike O’Leary.
The Blades also have talent between the pipes with the winningest goaltender in WHL history, Nolan Maier.
“It’s definitely going to be a battle of the goalies. Two really good goalies in net, so I think it’s going to be a good test for us,” said Mateychuk.
The Warriors will look to their young talent on the team to produce in the playoffs as they have been all season. Jagger Firkus, 17, is sitting in 14th in points and goals in the WHL. Brayden Yager is third among rookies in scoring and defenseman Denton Mateychuk is 14th in the league for assists.
“We’re relying on them a lot. They’ve earned the opportunity, it wasn’t given to them. Yager, Firkus, Mateychuk, they took their lumps last year in the hub and you know they’ve earned the opportunity and we are taking advantage of it,” said O’Leary.
Puck drop is 7 pm Friday night at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.