It started ugly for the Regina Pats Friday night, and it ended pretty much the same way.
The club lost to the central division leading Medicine Hat Tigers 8-5 after falling behind early and never really recovering.
“It’s definitely a game that we wanted to win and I think we needed to win so we’re definitely not happy about that,” said forward Sam Steel, who despite the loss had a four point night.
According to head coach John Paddock, it was sloppy play in both ends of the ice that cost the team the win.
“The game was lost on our … puck play. We kept turning the puck over turning the puck over,” Paddock said.
And indeed sloppy puck play marred the entire game for the Pats who gave up three goals – one of which came on the powerplay – in the first 11 minutes of the game.
However, the Pats went on to score two powerplay goals in the first period, bringing them within one at the close of the first period.
Medicine Hat struck first again with a goal from John Dahlstrom less than two minutes into the second, but Sam Steel responded for the Pats less than a minute later.
But that wouldn’t be the only damage Dahlstrom would do that period, squeaking one more past goaltender Max Paddock with just two and half minutes left before the second intermission.
The Pats came alive out of the second intermission with Jeff de Wit and Dawson Leedahl scoring just a minute apart to tie the game up, but the tie wouldn’t hold.
And once again it was the turnovers that turned into scoring opportunities.
“(Medicine Hat is) probably the best team in the league to turn it around on you and score,” Paddock said. “They got so many finishers they’re going to make you pay where some teams won’t make you pay.”
Max Paddock, in just his fourth WHL start, bore the brunt of the turnover battle, and while he coach said the young goalie would have to be better between the pipes, he knows his teammates didn’t do him any favours, especially late in the game.
“I think unfortunately when we tied the game up we gave them opportunities that we should never have given them,” Paddock said.
“Doesn’t mean he’s not a good young goalie, a good young prospect and going to be a good goalie.”
Steven Owre went on to score the game winning goal at the 8:44 mark and the Tigers would score two more before the game concluded including one empty netter.
The Pats will have to shake Friday night’s game off quickly as it’s just the first of three back-to-back games for the team.
Regina will head to Swift Current Saturday for a 7pm game there, before returning home to face Brandon at 4pm on Sunday.