The Regina Pats didn’t get the start to the new season they were looking for.
The Pats dropped their season opener 3-1 to the Moose Jaw Warriors on Thursday night as the WHL opened up it’s 50th season.
“I thought we were soft with the puck too often. I thought we tried too many low-percentage plays,” said head coach John Paddock.
The problem for the Pats was their special teams.
Regina’s penalty kill struggled as the Warriors scored on their first three power play chances of the evening. The power play wasn’t much better, only scoring once in seven opportunities.
“Last year, our game was better five-on-five – it was for two periods tonight,” said Paddock.
The Warriors scored the first goal of the WHL season just over 12 minutes into the first when Jiri Smejkal beat Daniel Wapple.
Moose Jaw extended their lead just under six minutes into the second period with a goal from Brett Howden. The Pats cut the lead in half thanks to a goal from Lane Zablocki before the middle frame came to an end.
Through the first 40 minutes, the Pats were the better team picking up most of the scoring chances, controlling play and outshooting the Warriors 28-16.
However, the Warriors controlled the third period, never giving the Pats much of a chance to tie the game before Ryan Bowen scored with just over 10 minutes to play giving the Warriors a two goal lead.
“I don’t have an explanation for (the drop off in play in the third),” said Paddock.
Moose Jaw outshot the Pats 13-5 in the third period and ran out the clock from there.
Warriors goalie Zach Sawchenko stopped 32 of 33 shots fired his way. Pats goalie Daniel Wapple made 26 saves on 29 shots.
Howden led all players with two points on the night as he also assisted on Bowen’s goal.
The Pats will host the Warriors on Saturday night at the Brandt Centre. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.