The Moose Jaw Warriors are 4-1 on the pre season after sweeping Brandon in a weekend home and home series.
Friday night in Brandon, Eric Arnold and Sebastian Svendsen had two goals each in 6-4 win. Saturday night at Mosaic Place, Svendsen and Braiden Doucette had three assists in a 6-4 win.
The tribe was without a number of veterans in both games, and Head Coach Mike Stothers says everyone stepped up and contributed.
"We had two forwards go back and play defence on a regular basis for a grand total of five guys playing the back end in back to back games, three of them being rookies."
"We had a lot of guys playing in difficult situations, playing and getting ice time they weren't accustomed to. I thought they handled themselves very well, I was very proud of all of them," said Stothers.
The Warriors have seven players at NHL rookie camps, five of them defenceman. Morgan Rielly also sat out the games against the Wheat Kings, as he continues to recover from having his appendix out the weekend before.
Veterans Jesse Paradis and Markus McCrea moved to the back end to help out rookies Braiden Doucette, Shayne Gwinner, and Travis Brown.
Stothers says a weekend like that could be a plus in the development of the three youngsters. "It's been great for them, it might even be a blessing for them that we've had five defenceman go to NHL camps because they've been playing a ton."
"I would prefer, when you have young defence like that, that they have the luxury of playing with a veteran player and maybe that will come with time. I think they've handled themselves very well, and you know what, I've been very happy with them," added Stothers,
The Coach says that over the weekend he got a great look at what all the younger players can do on, but admits the evaluation process is never ending.
"Whether it's practice, doing dry land, or paying attention in our meetings with video and stuff like that. It never ends, we're constantly tweaking and trying things. We'll continue to put some kids in some situations that they might not be quit comfortable with yet. Maybe down the road it'll be more natural for them and they'll have a chance to succeed again."
The tribe wraps up their exhibition schedule this weekend with a pair of games against Saskatoon. Friday's night's game at Mosaic Place will mark the return of Warriors Hockey on Country 100. Coverage begins at 6:55 with James Gallo, Derek Kletzel, and Marc Smith both nights.