The Regina Pats came soaring back against their division rivals Friday night, and they did almost entirely without captain Adam Brooks.
The Pats leader, and second highest regular season scorer left after assisting on a goal in the first period and did not return.
When asked about his status after the game, Pats head coach John Paddock said he didn’t know.
What is known is that the Pats put on an impressive display in Brooks’ absence, beating Swift Current 6-2.
“We played hard,” said Austin Wagner after the game. “The goals, they weren’t the nicest, but they went in our favour.”
With Papirny playing the way he is – saving 53 of 54 shots in the Thursday night matchup – Wagner admitted a lot of the goals in this series may not be pretty, but they have to take every chance.
“There’s a lot of rebounds sitting in the slot there so when we’re at the net there’s a lot of chances,” he explained. “I think we did a good job on that tonight and we capitalized on our chances.”
The 6-2 score was certainly indicative of that, and things really picked up for the Pats in the second period, which they entered trailing 2-1. It was actually the first time in the entire playoffs the Pats had been down on their opponent, but it didn’t last.
The Pats came into the second frame on the powerplay and firing on all cylinders. Connor Hobbs took a shot from the blue line that flew over Jordan Papirny’s right shoulder to tie the game up at 2.
From there it seemed like the whole tenor of the game changed.
“We just built off a great powerplay to start the second and things just went well for us,” Hobbs said about his game-tying goal.
“You just look around the room and you see the determination in the boys’ eyes and it kind of sparks you.”
After the tying goal Regina’s dominance continued and when the Broncos got tagged for too many men, they took advantage again. Nick Henry collected Josh Mahura’s rebound to give the Pats a 3-2 lead.
Then around the 14-minute mark, Austin Wagner scored his first of the night and second of the series putting the Pats up by two goals.
By the end of the period the Pats had outshot the Broncos 19-6, and it didn’t slow down heading into the third.
Just 90 seconds into the period Robbie Holmes got ahold of a rebound punching it past Papirny for his first of the playoffs and putting the Pats up 5-2.
In the third, the Pats put the final nail in the Bronco’s coffin when Austin Wagner came streaming up the ice and shot at an empty net for his second goal of the night – though he paid for it with a high stick to the mouth.
Wagner’s goal put the Pats up 6-2, a score that held until the buzzer.
“There was just a little bit extra effort needed in certain areas on the ice and I thought we got that out of everybody,” Paddock said of the win.
“It was our turn tonight and now we got to make sure it (stays) our turn.”
Fans excited for remaining games
After seeing their team lose Game 1 in their second-round series Thursday, Pats fans are in a better mood Friday night.
“I think it’ll be interesting to see how they do in Swift Current, Game 5 hopefully they’ll play like they did tonight,” said Jenna Gronick, a 13-year-old fan.
Her 8-year-old sister, Jayla, is also feeling like the Pats are on the right track.
“If they keep working like this, they’ll definitely start winning,” Jayla said.
Meanwhile, Jesse Demyen feels like Swift Current was a bit too liberal with the rules during game 2.
“If Swift Current keeps playing the way they do and try to injure our players, we should have lots of powerplay chances.”
After seeing their team win by a four-goal margin, Pats fans are feeling like their team has found the key to success against the Broncos.
Daniel Moose was willing to give a bold prediction after the game.
“If they keep playing like they are tonight, we’re going to take it in five.”
The Pats travel to Swift Current for game 3 on Monday night. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
— With files from Britton Gray
- Austin Wagner (Regina), 2 goals
- Connor Hobbs (Regina), 1 goal, 1 assist
- Sam Steel (Regina), 2 assists