Here’s the playoff schedule for the Moose Jaw Warriors’ quarterfinal playoff series:
Game 1 — Moose Jaw Warriors at Calgary Hitmen, Thursday, March 18 7 p.m., Pengrowth Saddledome.
Game 2 — Moose Jaw Warriors at Calgary Hitmen, Saturday, March 20 7 p.m., Pengrowth Saddledome.
Game 3 — Calgary Hitmen at Moose Jaw Warriors, Monday, March 22 7 p.m., Civic Centre.
Game 4 — Calgary Hitmen at Moose Jaw Warriors, Tuesday, March 23 7 p.m., Civic Centre.
Game 5 — Moose Jaw Warriors at Calgary Hitmen, Thursday, March 25 7 p.m., Pengrowth Saddledome.
Game 6 — Calgary Hitmen at Moose Jaw Warriors, Saturday, March 27 7 p.m., Civic Centre.
Game 7 — Moose Jaw Warriors at Calgary Hitmen, Monday, March 29 7 p.m., Pengrowth Saddledome.
Five of the other WHL playoff series will begin Friday. The Calgary Flames are hosting San Jose Friday which is why the Warriors-Hitmen series has a day off between the games.
The Warriors and Hitmen will have played Game 4 a day before Saskatoon-Red Deer or Portland-Spokane have played their Game 3s.
Shaw cable has selected the Vancouver-Kamloops series to air for the first round of the playoffs.
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The best news for Warriors’ fans coming out of Monday practice was the absence of yellow jerseys.
Quinton Howden was in the stands with his broken collarbone, but everyone else was skating and none were wearing the yellow jerseys given to players who are injured and who aren’t to be hit.
Antonin Honejsek, Dylan McIlrath and Brendan Rowinski all sat out Sunday’s regular season finale.
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Hunchak credited athletic therapist Curtis Amiot for how he has treated the players with their spate of recent injuries. The Warriors were cautious and the injured players appear to have recovered quickly.
Jeff Bosch said he felt 100 per cent healthy after his return to action Sunday after not starting in four games. After looking a little rusty early — he just failed to cover a lose puck in traffic which led to an easy second Broncos goal, a play he would normally make pretty easily — Bosch got better with every period.
Bosch said after his comeback Sunday:
“We were really cautious with my injury and made sure it was 100 per cent. (Curtis) and myself worked with it every day for a couple of hours each day and it really sped up my recovery and I felt really great out there.”
The team felt that that taste of action and the confidence that came with it could be important Thursday night.
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When it comes to playoff experience, the Warriors quite simply don’t have much. Of their 24 players only eight have experience in the post-season and even that is tenuous.
Jeff Bosch saw action in one game in relief Linden Rowat when he was with the Regina Pats in 2008. Kevin Smith played one game in 2008 in the Calgary series when Keaton Ellerby was suspended for a game.
Brendan Rowinski (30), Jason Bast (18), Thomas Frazee (16), Cody Smuk (9), Ryan Stanton (6) and Chad Suer (6) are the others who have tasted post-season action. The Warriors have a combined 87 games of playoff experience.
In case you were wondering, the Hitmen have 321 games of playoff experience. The individual tallies? Stone (49), Broda (35), Kozun (34), Schultz (34), Foucault (26), Jones (23), McKenzie (22), Cowan (18), Fisenko (15), Fiddler (13), Shattock (12), Sylvester (12), Nyren (10), Bubnick (8),
Burgart (6), Stebner (4).
The Hitmen have 11 1990-born players. That is a huge number of 19-year-olds. The Hitmen swung a five-player trade before the deadline to try to make a run, clearly banking on their future being now.
It’s interesting that they loaded up with four members of the Kamloops Blazers. None of those players — Bubnick, Nyren, Shattock and Stebner — have ever won a playoff series and incredibly Bubnick, Shattock and Stebner have never won a playoff game as the Blazers have been swept in the first round in three straight years.
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For what it’s worth the Warriors were using Danny Gayle with Bast and Frazee at practice Monday.
Hood, Honejsek, MacMaster and Rowinski all rotated through on the same line.
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The Warriors’ actually won the season series with the Hitmen picking up two wins and an overtime loss.
On the flip side the Hitmen won their last meeting 5-0 and the first Warriors’ win came against Calgary goaltender Chase Komistek in his only appearance of the season.
The Warriors faced Hitmen starting goaltender Martin Jones twice this season and the Hitmen won both of those games. Jones leads the WHL in goals-against-average (2.21) and shutouts (eight).
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This is the Warriors and Hitmen fourth playoff meeting. The Hitmen swept the Warriors in 2000, the Warriors won in seven games in the second round 2006 and the Hitmen won in six in 08.
The Hitmen have had home ice in all three previous meetings and are 3-0 in Game 1s against the Warriors.
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There’s going to be a lot of Calgarians involved in the series as the the Hitmen have seven home town boys and the Warriors have four players from Calgary.