Patience eventually paid off for the Regina Pats on Saturday night as they beat the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2 in overtime.
As they did on Friday night in Friendly City, the Pats were able to control much of the play through the first 40 minutes in their home opener. The difference this time around – they were able to continue that play in the third and overtime to capture their first win of the season.
“I thought we played good from start to finish against a good fast team and a goaltender who was really hot,” said head coach John Paddock.
“So, it took a lot to win the game.”
Another big difference for the Pats on this night was the play of their penalty kill.
On Thursday night in Moose Jaw, Regina allowed the Warriors to score three goals with the man advantage. On Saturday night, the Pats penalty kill was perfect on the night going six-for-six.
“Penalty killing was good. It needed to be (because) of a couple of late penalties. It was good, a lot more attention to detail,” said Paddock.
The game’s first goal didn’t come until the second period. Former Pat Dryden Hunt scored for the Warriors just 51 seconds in to the middle frame giving Moose Jaw at 1-0 lead.
Even though the Pats were outshooting the Warriors 30-20 through 40 minutes, they were unable to beat goalie Zach Sawchenko.
“He’s been playing great the last two games,” said forward Sam Steel.
“He played great, but we were lucky enough to get a few by him.”
The Pats finally did solve Sawchenko just 47 seconds into the third as Steel threw the puck in front of the net and it bounced off defenceman Sergey Zborovskiy and in.
Hunt broke the tie for the Warriors at the 8:28 mark with his second of the night. The Pats stormed right back with a goal from Aaron Macklin leaving the game tied once again.
Nothing gave the rest of the way and we saw our first taste of three-on-three overtime this season.
Steel ended the game 1:24 into the extra frame on a two-on-one squeaking one by Sawchenko.
3. Warriors goalie Zach Sawchenko: Sawchenko was more or less the only reason the Warriors picked up a point on Saturday night making 43 saves in the loss.
2. Pats forward Sam Steel: Steel showed why he’s perhaps the best player on the team using open ice to his advantage to win the game. He also added an assist.
1. Warriors forward Dryden Hunt: after Sawchenko, Hunt was the most noticeable Warriors scoring two goals in a losing effort.
Honourable mention: Pats defenceman Connor Hobbs: Hobbs didn’t factor into the scoring but dazzled with a couple of end-to-end rushes. Hobbs continues to show no fear when it comes to taking a risk to make a play or a big hit.
The Pats now have the week off and will host the Brandon Wheat Kings next Saturday night.