Warriors Focused Team Growth Heading into Home-And-Home with Broncos
The Moose Jaw Warriors will be loading up the bus on Friday for their first road game of the 2021 preseason in Swift Current.
Moose Jaw is coming off a 3-1 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday at home.
Head coach Mark O'Leary said the team has had good energy over the past two days at practice.
"They're eager to learn," he said. "It's a little bit of a mix between young guys and guys that have been on this team for a while and showing the young guys the way."
The Warriors had nine players playing in their first WHL preseason game on Tuesday, including 17-year-old forward Thomas Tien.
"It was great, kind of a special moment playing the first preseason game and just to get the win and the team to play so well together, it was really great," he said.
Tien was drafted in the 11th round of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft, but didn't get a chance to suit up for the Warriors last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said he feels he's been able to put together a strong training camp so far.
"I feel like camp has been great so far," Tien said. "Pace is really fast right now and everybody's starting to gel together."
The small, but speedy forward has been able to show his skills during camp. He said he's willing to play any role that's needed.
"I'm trying to provide anything the coach wants," he said. "Right now, my forechecking and my speed is really well and if I can keep doing that and contribute that to the team, we should be fine."
As the Warriors prepare to take on the Broncos in a home-and-home for their second and third exhibition games, the team is focusing on its development rather than the opponent on the other side.
"A lot of guys here are just getting a taste of what they WHL is like and just to build off the game, listen to coach and all the details and if we follow the game plan and keep it simple, we should be fine."
O'Leary said the preseason is about evaluating what the team has.
"It's about getting our games to where we want it to be and starting with without the puck and I thought we showed real good signs of that against Brandon the other night and now, switching gears a little bit more towards what we're doing with the puck," he said.
"Just another stepping stone here this, but real pleased with the energy level and the work ethic from the guys."
The Warriors continue their preseason schedule against the Broncos in Swift Current on Friday night. The two teams will meet for a rematch on Saturday at Mosaic Place, puck drops at 7 p.m.
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