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Hard Work Paying off for Rookie Forward Nathan Pilling

November 29, 2021 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Moose Jaw Warriors News Release

Nathan Pilling came to training camp with the Moose Jaw Warriors without much fan fare as a listed player, but hard work helped him crack the team's opening night roster.

The 17-year-old forward posted two goals and three points in the preseason, but since then, offence has been hard to come by for the Calgary product.

Pilling broke through this past Saturday though, picking up his first Western Hockey League point when he assisted on a goal by Cade Hayes in the first period.

"It was pretty special, it felt pretty cool," Pilling said on the Country 100 Post-Game Show after the game.

The Warriors shuffled the lineup heading into Saturday's game, which meant a bigger opportunity for Pilling as a moved into the centre spot on the team's third line between Hayes and fellow 17-year-old Jagger Firkus.

Warriors assistant coach Scott King said Pilling made the most of his opportunity.

"He was great, he was around the net, he's definitely heading in the right direction," King said.

"He's a hard working kid that is dedicated to becoming a good player, he puts in time at the rink, he always wants to watch video, so as a coach you definitely have time for people like that."

Pilling credited his linemates for making life easier on him during the game.

"We played a really well game," he said. "For me, I thought I played my game, I thought I played really well down low and then that in turn got some offensive chants coming, but it's easy to play with those guys."

The six-foot-two, 192-pound forward brings size and speed to the Warriors' lineup and was able to put both of those on display during Saturday's game.

He said he prides himself on getting onto the forecheck quickly.

"That's something we get preached in the locker room a lot, so just being able to go out there and have a chance to play and really play to my strengths is awesome," Pilling said.

Saturday's win gave the Warriors five out of a possible six points during their three games in four nights last week.

Moose Jaw has another busy stretch with four games over five nights.

Pilling said the Warriors need to carry the momentum over.

"That's crucial," he said. "We've had a couple of pretty good games, minus that one in Swift [on Friday], so stringing together a couple of points right now is pretty crucial coming up."

The Warriors will host the Brandon Wheat Kings at Mosaic Place on Tuesday night before heading on the road to Alberta for a three-in-three against Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton.

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