A rare 11:30 a.m. start turned into a tight, but routine 2-1 win for the Regina Pats over the Saskatoon Blades.
Over 8,000 turned out to SaskTel Centre as Team Up for Respect Day brought thousands of children out of the classroom and to the game.
Adam Brooks and Dawson Leedahl scored a pair of powerplay goals as the Pats picked up a 5th straight victory.
“They were really skating hard and keeping us to the outside,” Leedahl said post-game. “But we have had a good powerplay and were able to continue that today.”
Regina controlled the pace of the game for most of the day, but struggled to get pucks in dangerous areas through a tough defensive effort by Saskatoon.
In the end, the Blades’ penalties were what cost them.
“We shut down other lines but they caught us slacking and capitalized on the opportunities we gave them,” said Blades forward Lukas MacKenzie.
No goals came at even strength. Bryton Sayers smacked home a one-timer on a Saskatoon powerplay. Despite holding the top team in the CHL to a one-goal game, Sayers only saw one thing post game, a loss.
“Our work ethic was there, but we have been fighting the puck,” he said. “I think we should have beat them today.”
Regina forward Wyatt Sloboshan received some extra attention on and off the ice. The former Blades captain made his return to Saskatoon for the first time since being traded.
“It’s a game I had marked on my calendar and really wanted to win this one,” said Sloboshan, who was first traded to Spokane and then Regina after failing to report to the Chiefs after the holiday break.
“It’s far away from home and at 19 I wanted to make a run with a team so I was very fortunate to go to Regina.”
Tyler Brown stopped 22 of 23 shots he faced in the win. Saskatoon goalie Logan Flodell made 25 saves in a losing effort.
With the win, Regina has five straight victories and extends their lead atop the WHL’s East Division. They return home Wednesday, Feb. 1 to take on Moose Jaw.
Saskatoon has now lost three straight and continues their seven-game homestand on Friday, Feb. 3 in a rematch with the Pats.