(Courtesy Marc Smith) Jayden Halbgewachs admittedly hadn’t been playing his best over the past few weeks for the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The 19-year-old entered Saturday’s regular season finale with just two goals in his past 12 games and it looked as though his shot at the 50-goal mark had slipped away as he sat at 46 on the year.
That all changed in a heartbeat on Saturday as Halbgewachs put together a night for the ages, scoring four goals and finishing seven points in the Warriors’ 10-5 win over the Swift Current Broncos, giving him 50 goals and 101 points on the year.
“I absolutely didn’t expect that to happen,” said Halbgewachs. “I just went out there, played my game and I had a lot of support from my teammates, especially Brett Howden, he really wanted me to get that four goals and get that 50-goal mark.”
Halbgewachs, who was named co-Player of the Year for the Warriors before Saturday’s game, became the 12th player in Warriors’ history to surpass the 50-goal mark in a season. Moose Jaw has had a player score 50 goals in back-to-back season now after going over 20 years without one.
The Emerald Park product scored his first of the night midway through the first period, but really turned it on in the third period when he scored three goals in a span of 7:13 to hit the 50-goal plateau.
When he scored number 50, Halbgewachs’ teammates on the ice and on the bench celebrated more than he did.
“That was something I’ve never witnessed before, it was just incredible, when I seen that last goal in, I just had chills,” said Captain Brett Howden, who had three goals and five points in the game as well.
“Coming into the game, we were all joking around with him, ‘You need four goals and six points to get to a 50 and 100,’ and deep down we know he’s capable of it, but what are the chances of that happening in a game these days and for him to come out and do that, it was history, it was unbelievable.”
Halbgewachs finished the season tied for third in the Western Hockey League and in fifth place in points.
Out of the top-five scorers in the league, Halbgewachs had the fewest power play points with 30 and of the five players that top 50 goals, he had the fewest on the power play with ten.
Hitting those milestones was huge for Halbgewachs, but he added that it was more important that him and the team found their stride again after losing five straight before Saturday.
“In the first period, getting that first goal was huge for myself, you want to finish off the year on a strong note and I wasn’t doing that, so coming into this game I wanted to have a positive start going into playoffs, and tonight I was able to do that and also the team,” said Halbgewachs.
“(Friday) we had a solid game, but were still pushing ourselves to be better and tonight we over did it and it showed on the ice, which is huge going into the playoffs and we’ll keep it rolling from here.”
The Warriors will host the Broncos for Games 1 and 2 of their first round playoff series coming up on Friday and Saturday at Mosaic Place. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday morning at 10 a.m.