It seems like Austin Wagner had only just left for World Junior Selection Camp before he was on a flight back to Regina.
Wagner was one of two Pats who got the invitation to try out for Team Canada in Boisbriand, Que. this week. The other, Sam Steel, is still working to make the team.
For his part, Wagner said he left everything out there in his effort to impress the coaches.
“It’s tough news to hear when you’re going home from something like that, but I put my best effort in and that’s all I can do,” Wagner said before Wednesday’s afternoon Pats practice.
And while Wagner is thankful that he’ll now get to go home to Calgary to spend time with his family over Christmas, he can’t help to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder over being cut.
“I know that I got a little bit of anger in me. I want to prove everybody wrong and show that I could have made the team,” Wagner said. “I just got to channel that anger into using my speed and scoring goals, not being aggressive and taking dumb penalties.”
After losing a 2-1 overtime game to the 18th placed Saskatoon Blades on the weekend, his team could certainly use his skills back on the ice. Wagner has 14 goals and 13 assists this season. He’s second in the league in shorthanded goals, in large part to his immense speed.
And after working with a different set of teammates and coaches, he says he also has some new skills.
“We worked on blocking shots there a lot, so hopefully I can do that a bit more here and block shots here on the (penalty kill) and even strength.”
“I just got to push myself these last two (games) and I get a good long break … I can go home and have a good Christmas,” he said.
The Pats will play back to back games against Moose Jaw this weekend before their Christmas break.