If Friday night is any indication, Pats fans will be in for one heck of a playoff series.
The spirited affair between the second place Swift Current Broncos and the newly clinched third place Pats saw a few fights, a lot of penalties and needed overtime to decide it.
Nick Henry chipped in the overtime winner, beating Joel Hofer with a backhanded shot 2:49 into the extra frame.
“It’s pretty high obviously,” Henry said about where that goal ranked in his repertoire. “Playing against those guys and the importance of the game that’s huge.”
The win Friday night sealed the Broncos as the Pats playoff opponent when the postseason gets started in a week’s time.
And the Pats think they made a statement to Swift with the win.
“I think coming up in the playoffs we’re going to be playing them so we fought back and stood our ground,” Henry said.
“I think these are huge games to set the tone for next weekend,” he added.
The game started out with a lot of action, but no scoring as the two teams racked up five penalties early – but that was only the beginning.
Things really came on in the second, both with scoring and with the physical play.
First, Matteo Gennaro found a way past goaltender Max Paddock to open the scoring in the second period.
Twenty seconds later, Libor Hajek was slammed into the boards from behind by Bronco Andrew Fyten. His five-minute major and game misconduct were just two of fifteen penalties and misconducts doled out in the middle frame.
Fortunately, returned to the game after sitting off a few shifts.
At 5:12 Sam Steel hit the board for his 12th straight game, scoring the Pats first of the game off a feed from Josh Mahura.
Nine minutes later, Jared Legien added his 22nd of the season and padded the Pats lead putting them up 2-1 heading into the third period.
The chippy play and penalties continued into the third period, and while Jake Leschyshyn was serving four minutes for spearing Artyom Minulin evened things up for his team which eventually lead to overtime and Henry’s game-winner.
— x – Regina Pats (@WHLPats) March 17, 2018
The 3-2 overtime win marked the first time all season the Pats were able to beat the Broncos and it’s coming at just the right time.
Goaltender Max Paddock said from his perspective the Broncos saw an all-new Pats team from the last time these two squads met just a couple weeks after the Pats shuffled their roster at the trade deadline.
“We’re a totally different team from when we last played them, I mean we had almost everyone when played them last but we weren’t gelled yet like we are now,” Paddock said.
“I think everyone contributed from the bottom six to the top six. Everyone on defence, just put it all on the line trying to set the tone for what’s to come.”
And what’s to come is the playoffs, but first Regina will travel to Swift Current for their final regular season game of the year. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Playoffs will start with game one in Swift Current on March 23. The Pats will host games three and four, with tickets going on sale Tuesday at noon.
PATS PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
- March 23: Pats @ Swift Current, 7 p.m.
- March 24: Pats @ Swift Current, 7 p.m.
- March 26: Pats vs. Swift Current, 7 p.m.
- March 28: Pats vs. Swift Current, 7 p.m.
- March 30: Pats @ Swift Current, 7 p.m.*
- March 31: Pats vs. Swift Current, 7 p.m.*
- April 2: Pats @ Swift Current, 7 p.m.*