The Regina Pats will travel to Seattle with a little more breathing room after winning 4-3 in overtime Saturday night.
The game-winner came off the stick of Josh Mahura on the powerplay.
“It was pretty exciting. We knew we needed to win tonight and that was the bottom line. When it went in it was a sigh of relief not just for me but our whole team to tie this series up at home it’s a great feeling,” Mahura said.
“We made a big trade for a reason,” head coach John Paddock said about Mahura who he acquired at the trade deadline. “He’s one of the top defencemen in the league. He’s part of the first four out defenceman that I think are the strength of our team.”
It was just moments before in a tussle front of the net that Keegan Kolesar kneed Pats defenceman Connor Hobbs in the groin and was sent to the penalty box.
Paddock was not impressed.
“That’s not really a hockey play that’s more like a street play,” he said of the penalty.
“I’ve seen kneeing similar to that, a long time ago when I was playing and even those days you got suspended.”
The lead up to the Pats exciting finish had some tense moments. The Pats went up 1-0 just 50 seconds into the game off an unassisted goal from Sam Steel who buried it behind Seattle’s goaltender Carl Stankowski.
The Pats would hold on to that lead for the remainder of the first period, despite being outshot 9-5 by Seattle.
The second period got off to a brilliant start by the Thunderbirds, who caught the Pats off guard not once, not twice, but three times in less than a minute changing the entire complexion of the game. The Pats were now down 3-1 five minutes into the second period.
“Obviously it wasn’t ideal for us to have that happen that quick, but we knew we had to stay calm and we knew we were going to come back there and get a couple,” said Mahura, who scored that first comeback goal.
The team’s traded penalties throughout the rest of the period before Mahura netted his first of the night on the powerplay with about 90 seconds left in the frame. The goal narrowed the Pats’ deficit to just one goal.
Next, it would be Filip Ahl who would turn on the magic for the Pats, stripping the defender of the puck, spinning around and throwing it on the net to tie the game up five minutes into the period.
Then, in OT, it was all Mahura.
“There was a battle in the corner there and I kind of saw the puck squeak out and just kind of looked to the net and saw I had the lane and just tried throwing it on net,” he said.
The series is now tied up at one game a piece.
The Pats will now travel to Seattle for games three through five which begin on Tuesday.