With the Regina Pats set to lose two key players for the next few games, the team was able to get back to the win column against Medicine Hat Saturday night at the Brandt Centre, handing the Tigers a 4-2 loss.
The Pats were looking for the win after being defeated 7-5 by the Kelowna Rockets Friday night despite a hat trick from Pats defenceman Josh Mahura.
The Tigers came in with a 17-11-2 record compared to the Pats 14-15-2 showing thus far. The Tigers were victorious in the first meeting between these two teams.
The Pats were able to get out to a fast start, taking the lead under a minute into the game.
Pats forward Matt Bradley scored his 20th goal of the season when he tipped in a shot by Cale Fleury. Captain Sam Steel also notched an assist on the goal.
The lead wouldn’t last for long however.
Under four minutes after Bradley’s goal, the Tigers would get the equalizer with a goal from Hayden Ostir. Two minutes later, Tigers left-winger Henry Rybinsky would give Medicine Hat the lead.
During Friday’s match-up, the Pats and Rockets got into four fights with two minutes and 30 seconds left in the game, and the frustration may have carried over into Saturday’s game.
The Pats’ Cale Fleury and Tigers’ Mark Rassell dropped the gloves just three-and-a-half minutes into the first period. Nearly 10 minutes later, Pats defenceman Braydon Buziak and Dalton Gally would get exchange fists.
In the second period, the pats were able to tie the game up thanks to Emil Oksanen’s twelfth goal of the season.
Robbie Holmes would prove to be the difference-maker for the Pats, scoring the game-winning goal late in the third period.
Jake Leschyshyn would pot an empty-netter to seal the victory for the pats.
Bradley said this game meant a little more to him since it was against his former team.
“I really wanted this one a little more than usual I was telling the boys,” Bradley said. “They’re all in there wanting to get it for me so the vibe we had tonight was awesome.”
Steel said this was an important game for them to win.
“I thought we played a really good game, we looked a little bit desperate for those points and that’s what you want.”
This game also marked the last game for Steel and Mahura before they depart to Team Canada’s World Juniors Selection Camp. The camp will run from Dec. 12-15.
Steel was invited to the camp last year but was not selected to the team. He’s hoping for a different result this time around.
“I think I just worked on everything, I got stronger, faster and I just matured as a player too so hopefully this time around I can crack that squad,” Steel said.
For Mahura, this will be the first time he’s been invited to the camp.
He said he’s been more focused on helping the Pats win rather than focus on the international opportunity.
“Now that I’m leaving right away here I’m starting to focus on that obviously and I’m getting excited for it,” Mahura said.
Head Coach John Paddock said this presents other players with an opportunity to get some extra ice-time and showcase their talents.
“Anytime you get a chance to be higher in the lineup or play more, it should be welcomed,” Paddock said.
The coach also added they don’t change how they play when they lose Steel and Mahura.
The Pats are next in action Wednesday night against the Kamloops Blazers.