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Warriors, Winterhawks battle in Game 1 of WHL Championship Series on TSN


The Moose Jaw Warriors are taking on the Portland Winterhawks in Game 1 of the Western Hockey League Championship Series on Friday for the right to lift the Ed Chyoweth Cup.

Portland finished second in the Western Conference with a 48-15-5 record in the regular season while Moose Jaw ended as the Eastern Conference's No. 3 seed with a 44-21-3 record.

Watch the Warriors take on the Winterhawks LIVE at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on TSN4/5,, and the TSN App.

The Winterhawks swept the Victoria Royals and Everett Silvertips in the first two rounds before defeating the Prince George Cougars in six games during the Western Conference Championship Series.

Moose Jaw swept the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round and discarded the Swift Current Broncos in five games before running into the regular season champion Saskatoon Blades in the Eastern Conference Championship Series. The Warriors rallied back from a 3-2 series deficit to defeat the Blades in seven games in a series that needed six games to be decided in overtime.

Winger Lynden Lakovic was the Game 7 hero when he scored 36 seconds into overtime to cement Moose Jaw's ticket into the WHL Championship Series. The 6-foot-4 forward recorded 18 goals and 39 points in the regular season and added five goals and eight points in the playoffs.

Star forward Jagger Firkus has been the key cog for the Warriors' offence all season, leading the WHL in scoring with 61 goals and 126 points in the regular season. The Seattle Kraken prospect is tied for the league-lead in playoff scoring with 12 goals and 27 points, including three goals and nine points against the Blades.

Joining Firkus at the top of the playoff scoring leaderboard is Warriors captain Denton Mateychuk with eight goals and 27 points. The 5-foot-11 left-shot defenceman was drafted 12th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2022 and was third among WHL defencemen in scoring during the regular season with 17 goals and 75 points.

Detroit Red Wings prospect Nate Danielson was instrumental in the Winterhawks' victory over the Cougars, recording two goals and 11 points in the series. The 6-foot-2 centre was Portland's key acquisition at the trade deadline and he leads the team with five goals and 21 points in the playoffs.

Danielson recorded 24 goals and 67 points in 54 games split between the Winterhawks and Wheat Kings.

Also stepping up against the Cougars was winger Marcus Nguyen with six goals and nine points. The 5-foot-10 winger has six goals and 15 points in the playoffs after recording 24 goals and 56 points in 66 games in the regular season.

Winterhawks goaltender Jan Spunar was one of the best in the league during the regular season with a 2.12 goals against average and .913 save percentage to go along with a 25-6-3 record. The 6-foot-3 netminder has continued his strong play in the playoffs with a 2.12 GAA and .913 save percentage.

The Olomouc, Czechia, native is eligible for the 2024 NHL Draft in Las Vegas.

Jackson Unger had to be at his best for Moose Jaw against the Blades, winning three games in overtime. The 6-foot-1 netminder led the league with a 35-15-2 record in the regular season to go along with a 3.08 GAA and .908 save percentage.

Unger has a 3.14 GAA and .903 save percentage in the playoffs.

Moose Jaw and Portland only placed once during the regular season with the Warriors winning 4-3 on Feb. 28.