PREVIEW: Warriors staying even-keeled heading into Game 3
Lethbridge, AB — After a winning start on home ice, the Moose Jaw Warriors know that the real work starts now.
The Warriors hit the road on Tuesday night to battle the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Game 3 of the best-of-seven first round series.
“We played two pretty solid games and we’re happy with that, but it doesn’t really mean anything yet, we’ve got to go into their rink now and play well if we want to win,” Warriors captain Denton Mateychuk said.
Moose Jaw has a 2-0 series lead after skating to a 2-1 double overtime win in Game 1 and scoring a 5-1 win in Game 2 over the weekend.
Warriors head coach Mark O’Leary said the team has a lot to build off in those two games.
“We feel pretty good, I liked our second game a little bit better than the first one,” he said. “Both games, we did a really good job without the puck, but we made some adjustments and some improvements in our execution with the puck in game two and it showed.”
The Hurricanes play a tight, defensive game, which was able to limit the Warriors’ opportunities to attack in Game 1.
O’Leary said the Warriors settled into their game more in Game 2.
“When you’re starting a series off, the energy level is there and sometimes that can be a good thing, but sometimes it can go the other way a little bit too,” he said. “We looked a little jittery with the puck and it’s a team that forechecks hard and they make life difficult, but we looked a little better in game two.”
After giving up 51 shots in five periods in Game 1, the Warriors were able to limit the Hurricanes to only 22 shots in Game 2.
“We did a really good job in our D zone, not giving them much inside, that’s a big thing that we improved on,” Mateychuk said. “We just need to continue improving on managing pucks in the offensive zone, shooting the puck more, those are two things that we can do more in the next couple of games.”
The Warriors are expecting a hostile environment in Lethbridge for the next two games.
The ENMAX Centre is always a loud place to play and Mateychuk said managing their emotions will be key for the team.
“You’ve got to be ready for it,” he said. “We’ve played in those type of crowds before and we’re ready for that.”
“It’s a great building to play in, it’s going to be loud, it’s going to be energetic, but again we just have to worry about our job, our details and just execute,” added O’Leary.
The Warriors and Hurricanes meet for Game 3 at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night.