June 20th, 2024

Warriors beat Voltigeurs 4-3, advance to Memorial Cup semifinal

By The Canadian Press on May 28, 2024.

Moose Jaw Warriors' Vojtech Port (44) celebrates his goal against the Drummondville Voltigeurs during first period Memorial Cup hockey action in Saginaw, Mich., Tuesday, May 28, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Duane Burleson

SAGINAW, Mich. – The Moose Jaw Warriors were thrilled to qualify for their first Memorial Cup tournament.

The Western Hockey League champions from Saskatchewan were even more excited to record their first win as they defeated the Drummondville Voltigeurs 5-3 on Tuesday night in a must-win battle for both winless teams at Dow Event Center.

The Warriors, who grabbed an early 3-0 lead on goals by Vojtech Port, Jagger Firkus, Denton Mateychuk, needed an Aiden Ziprick goal at 18:26 of the third period to avoid overtime. Brayden Yager added an empty-net goal with 10 seconds left on the clock.

The Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League champion Voltigeurs, who stormed back to tie the game with goals from Justin Cote, Peter Repcik and Alexis Gendron, outshot the Warriors 52-28, including 26-6 in the third period.

Netminder Jackson Unger stopped 49 of 52 shots for Moose Jaw, while Riley Mercer stopped 23 of 27 shots in the Voltigeurs’ net.

The Warriors led 1-0 after the first period and 3-2 heading into the third.

The Warriors went 1-for-1 on the power play while the Voltigeurs were 0-for-1.

With the win, the Warriors (1-2) secured a berth in Friday’s semifinal, while the Voltigeurs (0-3) were eliminated. The Volts’ setback halts the QMJHL’s hold on the Memorial Cup, having won it the past four times.

The Warriors play the loser of Wednesday night’s game between the host Saginaw Spirit and Ontario Hockey League champion London Knights, both with 2-0 records. The winner of that game earns a direct berth to Sunday’s championship game.

The Voltigeurs road to Saginaw included sweeping the Saint John Sea Dogs in Round 1 of the QMJHL playoffs. They beat Sherbrooke Phoenix 4-2 in Round 2, knocked off the Victoriaville Tigres 4-1 in Round 3, and swept the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the championship final.

The Warriors swept the Brandon Wheat Kings in Round 1 of the WHL playoffs, beat the Swift Current Broncos 4-1 in Round 2, beat the Saskatoon Blades 4-3 in Round 3 (winning Game 7 3-2 in OT), and swept the Portland Winterhawks in the championship final.

POKE CHECKS: The Memorial Cup Games Committee announced on Tuesday that the London Knights have been fined $1,000 and player Sawyer Boulton has been suspended for one game for a pre-game warm-up violation against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Monday. The committee said Boulton made unnecessary contact with a Moose Jaw player while exiting the ice following the completion of the warm-up. The suspension will be served Wednesday night when the Knights play the host Saginaw Spirit.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2024.

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