Thursday, September 22, 2011

IT STARTS NOW... Warriors Open Regular Season

Tonight marks a new chapter in hockey in Moose Jaw.

The Warriors and Brandon Wheat Kings battle in the first game of an opening weekend home and home series, and it marks the first regular season game in the brand new Mosaic Place.

Veteran forward Joey Kornelsen says he's looking forward to being apart of history as the team plays it's first game in their new home. "It'll be a lot of fun. The crowd will be great, and it'll be a great atmosphere. We're really excited and looking forward to playing in the new barn."

The team played over a quarter of a century in the Civic Centre, which was known for it's unbelievable atmosphere. With moving into Mosaic Place, Kornelsen says the guys will be teaming up with the fans to create a new atmosphere.

"It's kind of a circle with the fans feeding the players and the players feeding the fans. This rink is great, we have all the right facilities here. The crushed can had a lot of good history, but we can make new history here."

This will be 17 year old rookie Travis Brown's first home opener with the tribe, and he says there'll be a little bit of nerves with the younger guys to start the game.

"When you get on the ice they kind of go away with the first shift and get it under your belt. You're used to playing hockey all the time so it's just like another game and that's how you have to treat it."

"It means a lot playing in the first regular season game at Mosaic Place, and I'm going to take a lot of pride coming out and representing the Warriors," said Brown on being apart of the historic night.

Now let's focus on the game itself....

This is the first game of two between the Warriors and Wheat Kings this week. It also marks what Kornelsen is hoping to be a break out season for himself.

"Last year I didn't play that much but it was more than my 16 year old year. Hopefully this year will be better than last year."

As of publication, the Warriors were still without defenceman Kendall McFaull, Dylan McIlrath, and Collin Bowman who are still attending NHL main camps. St. Louis Blues second round pick Joel Edmundson is also expected to miss the game after suffering an ankle injury at the Traverse City Prospects tournament.

With those veterans out of the lineup, that mean's it's up to guys like Brown to shut out Brandon's top offensive threat in Mark Stone, who was recently returned to major junior after attending Ottawa Senators camp.

Brown says the backend has to be sharp to limit the snipers opportunities. "I'm sure it'll be tough because he's such a highly talented player. But you know that makes it more exciting, it puts more pressure on me and that's good."

The Warriors were 5-3 against Brandon last season, posting a 2-2 record at home and 3-1 record on the road. Quinton Howden led the team with six goals and nine points against Brandon. On the other side of the red line, Mark Stone led Brandon with four goals and 13 points against the Warriors.

Join James Gallo, Derek Kletzel, and Marc Smith for all the action on Country 100. The extended Pre Game Show is on the air at 6:40pm, and will include coverage of the on ice festivities put on by the team.

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