A packed Brandt Centre got to see what the Regina Pats could do with their backs against the wall and the fans liked what they saw.
The Pats were on the brink of elimination from the playoffs after falling behind the Swift Current Broncos 3-1 in the best of seven series.
With the 3-2 win tonight, the Pats remain on the brink of elimination, but their hope is still alive.
“Guys are just gassed just giving it 100 percent. It’s kind of cliché, but guys are diving in front of pucks on both sides and it’s a war out there,” said defenceman Connor Hobbs. “That’s what we need again tomorrow and hopefully we can force a seven.”
Hobbs, who was named the game’s first star, was responsible for one of the Pats three goals in the win, and several hard hits. It was, in fact, a harder and more physical game than he and his teammates usually play, but it seems to have the effect they wanted.
“We just got to do that again and come out bumping and hitting and trying to do it as clean as possible but also physicality is huge for us so we got to use that,” he said.
“I think when I play physical it’s a little bit intimidating for the other team, they know when I’m on the ice.”
Perhaps more than the hitting, though, the “x-factor” in tonight’s game was the fans at the Brandt Centre, who really came alive after Austin Wagner was called for a five-minute major penalty late in the third period.
The Pats were up 3-1 after goals from Steel, Hobbs, and Henry, but the lead was in jeopardy with Swift Current getting the man advantage for a full five minutes.
As the hit, which the referees called kneeing, was played back on the big screen the fans got angrier and angrier about the decision.
Pats head coach John Paddock wasn’t thrilled by it either.
“I thought there was shoulder contact, maybe there was slight knee after but Lindgren is pumping his head up and down obviously drawing the penalty and it worked,” Paddock said. “He fooled them. He completely fooled them.”
Lindgren returned to the ice before the five minute powerplay was over.
Legitimate penalty or not, the fans took it upon themselves to boo every single time a Bronco touched the puck and to cheer every time the Pats did.
Here’s a taste of that cheering and booing during the penalty kill tonight pic.twitter.com/jEuQN7v5TZ
— Arielle Zerr (@arielle_zerr) April 15, 2017
“It was huge for us, the crowd was unbelievable and we used that. They helped us out,” Hobbs said.
“I think they picked it up another level tonight,” added Paddock. “They really took it upon themselves and did a great job.”
Brooks’ return ‘not really’ close
There was a lot of hope in the Brandt Centre Friday night that Pats captain Adam Brooks would be back on the ice.
The 20-year-old forward was injured after a knee on knee hit in game two of the series and hasn’t been back on the ice since.
Brooks dressed for the game, but in the end didn’t see any ice time.
Paddock was asked if Brooks was close to returning, and he said “not really,” but added that Brooks deserved the opportunity to dress.
The Regina Pats will look to stave off elimination once again, with a win in Swift Current Saturday night.
Puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Credit Union i-plex.
- Connor Hobbs (Regina), 1 goal
- Tyler Brown (Regina), 30 saves
- Sam Steel (Regina), 1 goal, 1 assist