Brody Willms backstopped the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 2-1 win Tuesday over the Prince Albert Raiders at Mosaic Place. The win clinched the franchises 4th East Division title and their first Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the 2017-2018 Regular Season champions.
The opening period was tight as both teams clamped down defensively to limit time and space for players to be creative.
At 3:21 the Raiders chipped the puck around a Warriors defenseman which led to a rush up the ice for Nikita Krivokrasov who skated inside the right circle and snapped the puck to the back of the net.
It didn’t take long for the Warriors respond as 34 seconds later the pushed to the Prince Albert net.
Justin Almeida came in on the left wing and then swung the puck over to the right where Vince Loschiavo ripped in his 19th of the season to tie the game at one.
The tight battles continued throughout the rest of the game, Moose Jaw outshot Prince Albert 13-4 in the second period and 26-15 in the final two periods but they weren’t able to put the puck to the back of the net.
With no goals for the remainder of regulation the teams went to overtime. In the extra period the Raiders outshot Moose Jaw 5-3 but Brody Willms turned them away which sent the game to a shootout.
In the first round Captain Brett Howden scored while the Raiders Regan Nagy was denied.
The second round opened with a goal from Jayden Halbgewachs and then on the other side of the red line Brody Wills turned away Parker Kelly to solidify the win.
“50 percent of the banner that are in the rafters now, there’s four banners up and we just added two more and we’re looking to add another here and that’s our goal,” said Head Coach Tim Hunter after the game. “It’s a great accomplishment by our organization from top-to-bottom, whether it’s the scouts, the front office, the trainers, the coaches, the players, it’s a great accomplishment and we’re really thrilled and proud of it.”
Willms made 27 saves in regulation and overtime and then two more in the shootout, the win is his 37th of the season which set a new single season franchise record.
“I’m very proud to have my name in franchise history, but obviously wins are pretty much the biggest team accomplishment you can have, so without my teammates and the coaching staff and everything that goes into earning those wins, it’s nothing, so I have to thank those guys immensely,” he said.
Willms said the Warriors’ locker room is pretty proud to be the first team in franchise history to finish first in the regular season.
“To do it tonight the way we did with a big, tight game like that, it feels good, we’re proud of that, but you also can’t hang your hat on that, we’ve got to move forward now and prepare for playoffs,” he said.
The Warriors are now off until the weekend when they take on the Brandon Wheat Kings in a home-and-home series that starts Friday at Mosaic Place. Catch all the action on Country 100 starting with the Westrum Lumber Timber Mart PreGame Show at 6:30pm.
Friday the Warriors will hand out their regular season awards during YARA Awards Night. Fans are being asked to be in their seats early as the on-ice program will start at 6:50pm.
Tickets are available online at www.mjwarriors.ca or at the Mosaic Place Box Office.