Cam Braes, James Henry and Kenton Miller have the power to stop time.
For a little while at least.
The end to their Western Hockey League careers is coming, but the Moose Jaw Warriors’ 20-year-olds are doing all they can to fight off the inevitable.
“You don’t want to have any regrets whenever the season comes to an end,” said Braes.
The Warriors are hoping that end doesn’t come soon and the play of the overage centres has been a big reason why. Quinton Howden is in the top five in playoff scoring, Brayden Point has been clutch and the defence has elevated their games, but the oldest Warriors have been quietly consistent.
“Braezer is a hard, abrasive guy to play against. Henry is miserable to play against. Millsy is just tireless. His work ethic is second to none. They keep coming at you,” said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. “Whether they’re necessarily scoring every shift, they’re creating things, they’re pinning the opposition in the offensive zone, they’re winning draws. We’ve been really solid in the playoffs on face-offs.”
Henry led the Warriors in scoring in the first round and has four goals and nine assists so far. Miller has four goals and five points. Braes has a point in all nine playoff games, but only has one goal to go along with his 11 assists.
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“It’s a little bit concerning. I had 41 in the regular season, so they were probably expecting me to score a little bit more,” said Braes. “The team’s winning, so I’m happy with that. Obviously if the goals come that might help us. We’re winning right now and I’m getting some assists so it’s not like I’m doing absolutely nothing out there.”
On the contrary Braes has been doing plenty to help the Warriors win. He’s been busy helping quarterback the power play and being a hard-skating two-way centre. He has earned the duty to play against the lines of Jordan Weal, Hunter Shinkaruk and Emerson Etem in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The trio have all been on the first power play unit and have won key face-offs. Henry even made a game-saving play when he slid across the goal line to save a goal in Game 4 in Medicine Hat.
“All three of them have been a good example with their commitment to hard work and the preparation that goes into the team having success. That’s the beauty of the three that we have: they want to see the team having success, it doesn’t have to be built around them. They’re three great overagers,” said Stothers.