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Preview: Warriors Back to Full Strength for Battle with Raiders

September 30, 2022 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Moose Jaw Warriors News Release

Reinforcements have arrived for the Moose Jaw Warriors ahead of their Friday night battle with the Prince Albert Raiders.

After opening the 2022-23 regular season with a home-and-home split against Regina, the Warriors have seen their six players away at NHL training camps return throughout the week.

With the team now at full strength, the Warriors are looking to get rolling.

"Nothing short of a win is acceptable," Warriors forward Brayden Yager said. "It's exciting having these guys back, so we're going to hit the ground running and keep going through the whole season."

Eric Alarie, Jagger Firkus, Cole Jordan and Max Wanner all returned to practice this week after wrapping up their time at their respective NHL camps. Denton Mateychuk and Martin Rysavy were reassigned by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday and are expected back to Moose Jaw in time for this weekend's contests.

Warriors head coach Mark O'Leary said it will provide a shot in the arm for the team after playing a younger lineup for the opening weekend.

"It's really energized our group here for practice this week," he said. "We've been talking about the start of this season for a while now that we're excited about the opportunity we have with so many guys coming back.

"Job number one is to get everybody back in town and we're starting to get there."

The Warriors opened the season with a win in Regina, but dropped the rematch last Saturday on home ice.

O'Leary said getting a full week of practice in after the opening weekend was big.

"We can tackle a lot of things, whether it's the skill side, practicing with the puck and the details without the puck as well," he said, "All that stuff's important, especially this time of year."

The Warriors will battle the Raiders for the first time on Friday night as Prince Albert comes into the Hangar.

Yager said they know the Raiders will give them a test.

"They play a tough game, they're pretty gritty and they always bring their best game, so we're going to push back and not take anything, just put pucks in the back of the net," he said.

O'Leary added that the Warriors will need to play hungry.

"They will be the same hard working, diligent group that we saw last year," he said. "There's some familiar faces on their side and I know that their coach Jeff Truitt will have them ready, prepared and playing a certain way."

The Warriors and Raiders square off at 7 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.

The IKS Media Warriors Live Pre-Game Show is on the air at 6:45 p.m. on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Also catch all the reaction after the game with the Post-Game Show on all three social media channels.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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