Chemistry is the buzz word around the Regina Pats these days, and Saturday night the club showed plenty of it.
The Pats thumped the Calgary Hitmen 8-2 in a game where all four lines got in on the scoring and Josh Mahura notched five points.
“The puck was just getting in the back of the net and it’s what we want,” said captain Sam Steel, who had a goal and two assists in the win.
Much has been made about the turnover on the team at the WHL trade deadline, but the players seem to be working out the jitters and figuring each other out a little more every time they step on the ice.
“Those are the kind of games we want, we did a lot of good things tonight,” Steel continued. “We’re going in the right direction, we’re making progress every night so I thought it was a big game for us.”
Head coach John Paddock said he saw some things individually that he liked, especially when it came to the new lines.
He’s happy with how Cameron Hebig and Matt Bradley are playing together and the work of Aaron Hymen and Liam Schioler on defence. He’s also is pleased with the growing chemistry between newly acquired 20-year-old Jesse Gabrielle and Steel on the Pats’ top line.
A chemistry that saw Gabrielle score his first – and second – goals of the season.
“It’s really nice. It’s been a while since I scored, so it feels good to get that monkey off my back,” said Gabrielle who had spent time with the AHL’s Providence Bruins before being traded to Regina from the Prince George Cougars who held his WHL rights.
“I think today we were gelling pretty quickly and pretty nicely,” he continued.
“It’s really good to see everyone contributing from the first to the fourth line … and (it’s) a really fun atmosphere in there.”
To keep things on the right track Paddock and the Pats are planning some team building exercises and team meals. They’ll also head on their first road game on Wednesday against Prince Albert.
And while they’ve been able to put together back-to-back wins since the trade deadline, Paddock doesn’t want the team to get too ahead of themselves.
“We’re still a big work in progress yet. We allowed 35 shots (Saturday night), I don’t think that that’s real impressive,” he noted.
Logan Nijhoff opened the scoring for the Pats around the 12-minute mark of the first period, and he was followed up quickly with a goal from Gabrielle.
The assist from Mahura on the second goal gave him his 100th career point, though he would go on to get four more of them in the game.
Legien added Regina’s third goal of the night during a five-on-three power play with just three seconds left in the period and left Calgary trailing 3-1 going into the intermission.
The Pats opened the scoring in the second as well as Mahura potted his only goal of the night at the nine-minute mark.
Regina had numerous shorthanded chances as the Hitmen’s powerplay unit fell apart and after being denied on his first breakaway seconds before, Steel made no mistake on his second shorthanded breakaway scoring a beauty on Hitmen goalie Nick Schneider.
Schneider would be replaced by teammate Matthew Armitage.
Cael Zimmerman added one for Calgary at the end of the period which saw the Hitmen trailing by four going into the third.
The Pats’ onslaught continued in the final frame with Gabrielle scoring his second of the night 1:12 in. Robbie Holmes potted his 13th of the season at 5:38, while Matt Bradley wowed the crowd with his 27th of the season by shooting it in from between his legs with less than two minutes left.
Netminder Ryan Kubic made 33 saves in the effort.
The Pats are back in action on Wednesday against the Prince Albert Raiders.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
- Jesse Gabrielle, Regina Pats (2 goals, 1 assist, 7 shots on goal)
- Cale Fleury, Regina Pats (3 assists, 1 shot on goal)
- Josh Mahura, Regina Pats (1 goal, 4 assists, 3 shots on goal)