Moose Jaw Warriors
Playoff success has been elusive for the Moose Jaw Warriors since their run to the league final in 2006.
While it has been five long seasons since the Warriors last won a playoff round, the current edition have a quartet of players who have been a part of a long playoff run.
Cody Beach and Justin Kirsch have played in the Memorial Cup with the 2010 Calgary Hitmen. Cam Braes went to the WHL final with Lethbridge and James Henry played in the Western Conference final with Vancouver.
For Beach and the Hitmen, the journey to the Memorial Cup started with a huge comeback win over Moose Jaw in the first round of the 2010 playoffs.
The Hitmen were down 3-1 in the first round to an eighth-seeded Warriors team, before rallying to win the series.
“It was crazy. We couldn’t believe it at the time. We were all in shock,” said Beach of the 3-1 hole the Hitmen found themselves in. “I think we underestimated our opponent here in Moose Jaw coming in. It was a wake-up call right away.
“There were tough times and we fought through them in the first round. That series helped us further on in the playoffs and made things easier when things got tough.”
Beach was a 17-year-old rookie on that Hitmen team and he remembers how the Hitmen’s veteran leadership group never panicked.
“We knew that at some point we would have to go through something like this. It was our leaders who stepped up and showed us how to go,” he said.
Now it’s his turn to help lead the way when the going gets tough.
When the Warriors open Game 1 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final series Friday (7 p.m., Mosaic Place) against the Regina Pats, they will have 198 games of WHL playoff experience and five games of Memorial Cup experience.
The Pats have 80 games of playoff experience. Those games come from nine players — four of which have never won a playoff game. Matt Marantz leads the Pats with 24 games of playoff experience. Defenceman Colton Jobke has 21 and left winger/defenceman Luke Fenske has 14.