A heavy end of the season schedule seems to be wearing down the Regina Pats.
For the first time all season, the team has dropped four games in a row – the latest a 6-3 loss to the 17th place Calgary Hitmen Saturday night.
“I’m not making any excuses it’s just facts. We badly need rest,” said head coach John Paddock after the game. “Every team’s gone through probably a heavy schedule we hit ours at the end of the year.”
Indeed it has been a heavy schedule for the Pats over the last little while, over the last 23 days the Pats have played 14 games.
“We’re short staffed out front, those guys are running out of juice right now and they badly need some time off.”
But they won’t get much. Over the next fourteen days until the end of the season on March 18 they’ll play nine games. Then teams will get about a week to regroup before playoffs begin.
Paddock said the team just needs to get back to doing the simple things right, something the Pats didn’t really do on Saturday.
The Hitmen started the scoring off five minutes in when Pats goaltender Jordan Hollett was beaten on a wrist shot by Tristen Neilsen.
The Pats responded about 90 seconds later when Braydon Buziak punched in a rebound to tie it up at one.
Pats goaltender Jordan Hollett’s bad decision making lead to the Hitmen’s second goal of the night. Hollett went out to the blue line to meet a breakaway attacker, losing track of the puck and allowing Vladislav Yeryomenko to score.
The Hitmen’s dominance in the first period continued, with Matteo Gennaro scoring a shorthanded goal just past the 15-minute mark of the frame, and Beck Malenstyn chipping one in two and a half minutes later.
The Pats trailed 4-1 on 16 shots against them heading into the first intermission.
The second period started off well for the Pats after killing off the remainder of both a five on three and a five on four penalty.
Not long after returning to even strength Adam Brooks netted one to bring the Pats back within two.
The Pats forward momentum didn’t last long, however, with Jake Kryski scoring a little more than a minute later to bring Calgary up 5-2.
“When you get a goal and get some momentum you need to get some good follow up shifts afterward,” Brooks said. “We just can’t do the things that we were doing wrong because teams will score against us.”
The Pats applied a lot of pressure throughout the second period, but couldn’t get anything past Dumba.
Meanwhile, Luke Coleman added another goal for the Hitmen putting them up 6-2 on the Pats.
Adam Brooks came back and jammed one in about halfway through the third and cut the Hitmen’s lead in half.
Minutes later it looked the Pats had brought it within two after Wyatt Sloboshan tipped in a Josh Mahura slapshot, but the goal was reviewed and called back.
It remained 6-3, leading to the Pats fourth straight loss.
It’s another quick turnaround for Regina who travel to Brandon Sunday morning to play the Wheat Kings for their third game in as many days.
Puck drop is at 4 p.m.
- Beck Malenstyn (Hitmen)
- Kyle Dumba (Hitmen)
- Adam Brooks (Pats)