The Pats let in four goals in the first period and couldn’t come back against the first place Moose Jaw Warriors Friday night.
But the Pats hope to use their 5-3 loss as a learning experience.
“(Moose Jaw) wanted to show us tonight that they are the top dog and how far we have to go and that’s not a bad thing,” said head coach John Paddock.
The Warriors put out a strong first period outscoring the Pats 4-0 and outshooting them 21-8 and the players knew they had to be better.
“We just weren’t moving our feet and moving pucks good enough, just a little too many turnovers and with a team like that over there, they’re going to capitalize on your mistakes,” said defenceman Josh Mahura.
And capitalize they did.
Jayden Halbgewachs opened the scoring for the Warriors on the powerplay at 5:46 in the opening frame, followed less than two minutes later with a goal from Vince Loschiavo.
Moose Jaw sparked up again later in the period with a powerplay goal from Dmitri Zaitsev at 14:37 and the period closed with their fourth goal of the period – the game-winner – from Tanner Jeannot.
“Everyone saw it, and we felt too, in the first we just weren’t there and it was plain and simple,” said defenceman Josh Mahura. “It’s unacceptable on our part, but we came back and we fought back hard in the second and third so it just shows the resiliency of the team here.”
The Pats came back in the second with a renewed fight and Jesse Gabrielle sparked the Pats offence with a powerplay goal set up with passes from Cameron Hebig and Mahura. The Pats also outshot their opponents in the period 14-11 and went on to do the same in the third.
But by then the game was already out of hand, and the Warriors ensured that with another goal from Halbgewachs, his 50th of the season.
Mahura went on to add two goals to the Pats tally and Regina outshot Moose Jaw 23-5 in the final frame.
But Paddock warned against “letting the shots deceive you.”
“We know we have a long way to go,” he said simply. “I think it showed they were far better organized than us and they’re going to be far better organized than us because, with the exception of (trade deadline acquisition) Kale (Clague) and (Vince) Loschiavo, who has been there a while now, their team has been playing together (all season). We’re just starting to play together.”
Paddock and the Pats added nine new players to the team in the last few weeks in an effort to boost the roster in time for the Memorial Cup in May.
Playing the best team in the league is a pretty good measuring stick and the Pats will play them, and second place Swift Current four more times this season.
“This is good,” Paddock stressed. “It’s good for us to see and feel and of course, you have to learn from it.”
The Pats travel to Saskatoon tomorrow for the first of a home and home series against the Saskatoon Blades.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre.
- Brody Wilms, Moose Jaw Warriors (42 saves)
- Kale Clague, Moose Jaw Warriors (2 assists)
- Jayden Halbgewachs, Moose Warriors (2 goals, including his 50th of the season)