The Pats scored three shorthanded goals to defeat the Spokane Chiefs 4-2 on Friday night at the Brandt Centre and remain undefeated in regulation time.
It was Luc Smith that scored the Pats first goal during the first period of play, but it was the sure hands and great speed of Austin Wagner that was on full display.
He scored two of the Pats shorthanded goals – one on a beautiful take away, then breakaway during the second period.
“I think with my speed it helps a lot, especially getting to that open ice I can create that space and when I see it I’m pretty excited to try and go get the puck,” Wagner said.
The Pats were able to bounce back from a significant shot deficit in the first period getting only seven shots on goal to the Chief’s 16. The Pats stormed back in the second period outshooting the Chiefs 14-6 (as well as scoring three goals) and again in the third 12-8.
Head coach John Paddock said this isn’t the first time this season they’ve been successful shorthanded, pointing to an earlier game in Red Deer.
“We use our high end guys to kill penalties so you’re going to have a little bit like that but Wag’s … pure speed is obviously factor in the offensive opportunities we get,” he said.
Despite their success scoring shorthanded tonight, the Pats will have to get a handle on their penalties. After Tuesday’s game Paddock said the team was taking too many penalties and it was undisciplined and stupid of them to do so.
Wagner says despite their ability to capitalize on the penalty kill, the players do know it has to be fixed.
“I think we need to go down on penalties, it’s going to cost us in the long run,” Wagner said. “I think we know as a team we take too many penalties, and we know that in that room. Hopefully it gets sorted out pretty quick.”
The Pats will travel to Medicine Hat for their next game Saturday night before returning to the Brandt Centre next Sunday.