Warriors down Pats 3-2 to take round one of the 2021 Trans-Canada Clash

The Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Regina Pats 3-2 in the first round of the 2021 Trans-Canada Clash. (Nick Pettigrew/Regina Pats)

A pair of goals from Cade Hayes helped the Moose Jaw Warriors edge the Regina Pats 3-2 on Friday night.

The Warriors (2-1-0-0) opened the scoring on the power play 10:40 into the contest, when Hayes converted after a pair of saves by Pats goaltender Matthew Kieper in the crease area. Hayes banged home a third rebound through the five-hole to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.

The Pats drew even with just under a minute to play in the opening frame on a heads up play from defenceman Ryker Evans on the power play, and a burst of speed from captain Logan Nijhoff.

Evans, who recently returned from a successful NHL training camp with the Seattle Kraken, fired a long lead pass from inside his own zone that ricocheted off the Moose Jaw end wall, right on to the stick of the streaking Nijhoff who fired it home.

Twenty-year old Nijhoff has been playing with a lot of confidence since returning from a tryout with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.

Evans tied the game at two midway through the second period, but Moose Jaw rookie Matthew Gallant restored the Warriors one-goal lead with just under three minutes remaining. Gallant, showing poise beyond his league experience, beat a defender wide into the zone and fired the puck over the glove of Kieper into the top corner for his first Western Hockey League regular season goal.

The 17-year old had two goals and four assists for the Warriors through five pre-season games helping secure his roster spot.

Warriors’ goaltender Carl Tetachuk turned aside 24 of the 26 shots he faced and was brilliant when he had to be, including shutting the door on a short-handed breakaway attempt from Cole Carrier and a pair of 2-on-1 drives from Regina.

The Pats (2-2-0-0) are back in action on Sunday, Oct. 10, when they take on the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Warriors return to the ice on Wednesday when they battle the Prince Albert Raiders at Mosaic Place.