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Warriors' Mateychuk makes AHL debut, back on ice in Game 6 with Cleveland

After helping Cleveland stay alive in playoffs against Hershey, Columbus Blue Jackets prospect aims to do the same again tonight
mateychuk-trophy-file
If things go according to plan, this won't be the last trophy Denton Mateychuk hoists this season.

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM -- Throughout the Western Hockey League playoffs, Moose Jaw Warriors captain Denton Mateychuk played in a few do-or-die games.

As the presence of the Ed Chynoweth Cup in Moose Jaw would indicate, he was able to help his team win each of them.

And the Columbus Blue Jackets took notice.

A couple days after the Memorial Cup came to a close, Mateychuk was assigned by Columbus to the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League, with the goal of producing some of his playoff magic in the professional ranks.

The Monsters would need it, too, given that they were down to their last life in their best-of-seven series against former Warrior Dylan McIlrath and the Hershey Bears. 

And sure enough, Mateychuk’s presence would help Cleveland stay alive as the Monsters would go on to a 3-2 victory on Thursday night.

Mateychuk slotted into the second defence pair alongside Marcus Bjork and played a regular shift, getting off a pair of shots at 11:53 and 13:40 of the first period.

Josh Dunne, Roman Ahcan and Jake Gaudet scored for Cleveland, while Ethen Frank and Garrett Roe scored for Hershey. 

McIlrath -- who played four seasons with the Warriors from 2008-2012 -- is Hershey’s captain and has played the past 10 seasons in the AHL and NHL, including the majority of the last three campaigns with the Bears.

His leadership last season helped Hershey win the Calder Cup as AHL champions for the first time since 2010.

In Game 5, McIlrath had a pair of shots on goal and played on the top pairing alongside Vincent Iorio.

The Moose Jaw Warriors' connections in the Eastern Conference Final don’t stop there, as Cody Beach was one of the referees for the contest. The former Warriors standout has been an NHL and AHL official since 2021 and has worked more than 25 NHL games in his short career.

Mateychuk and McIlrath will lock horns once again in Game 6 of the series on Saturday night, with the Bears advancing to the Calder Cup Final with a win.