It was a win Pats head coach John Paddock didn’t feel like celebrating.
His team defeated the Prince Albert Raiders 5-4 in overtime Saturday night, but the score doesn’t tell the whole story.
At the end of the second period, the Pats were up 4-1 after playing a strong forty minutes of hockey against a physical eastern division rival.
By the end of the third, they had allowed the Raiders to score three goals and take the game to overtime.
“We played probably our best two periods of the year,” said Paddock. “We created the offensive chances we had … then we came out (in the third) and basically every player from top to bottom crapped the bed.”
Captain Sam Steel, who scored two goals in the effort and assisted on the game-winner, said the team knew they weren’t playing well in the third and it was a wakeup call when the Raiders tied things up.
“When they tied it up we knew – enough talk we needed to get it done. We knew we couldn’t lose that game,” he said.
And they didn’t. With 47 seconds left in the extra period, Cameron Hebig netted the game-winner to secure the win that for most of the game seemed well in hand.
The scoring started in the second period with an unassisted goal from Emil Oksanen which kicked off four minutes of furious penalty taking and goal scoring for both teams.
Fifty seconds after Oksanen opened the scoring Steel netted his first on the wraparound to put his team up 2-0.
But just 12 seconds later Brett Leason cut the Pats lead in half.
Then the penalties started to pile up with Brayden Pachal hitting the box for slashing and Jesse Gabrielle for embellishing.
Jeremy Masella was tagged for hooking not long after to give the Pats a four on three advantage.
As Gabrielle and Pachal’s penalties elapsed the two took shots at each other leaving the box, but it didn’t seem to bother Regina, as Steel came back in with a powerplay goal and his second of the night.
The frostiness continued on ice with a skirmish in the corner leading to more penalties and a 10-minute misconduct for Bryce Platt.
A Vojtech Budik delay of game penalty turned into a quick powerplay goal for Josh Mahura just six seconds after Budik entered the box.
Austin Pratt and Masella through one more fight in for good measure to end the period with the Pats up 4-1.
But despite being down 4-1 the Raiders weren’t out.
With 7:30 left in the third period Regan Nagy and Parker Kelly stunned the Pats by scoring 15 seconds apart to keep the game within reach.
Prince Albert seemed destined to tie the game up when penalties to Oksanen and Brady Pouteau gave them a five on three advantage, but the Pats penalty kill from Ryan Kubic on up were outstanding and killed off it all off.
However, the tenacious Raiders came back again pulling goaltender Ian Scott for the extra attacker with less than two minutes left and Kody McDonald beat Kubic with 37 seconds left in the game to send it into overtime.
As the final minute ticked down, Steel set up Hebig perfectly to seal it for Regina.
“There wasn’t a doubt in my mind it was going in the back of the net,” Steel said of the moment he passed the puck to his linemate.
The assist capped up a four-point night for Steel, who was also celebrating his 20th birthday and was named first star.
As the Raiders filed off the ice the Pats celebrated, but despite the win, their coach left the bench discouraged.
“It was the opportunity to have a great learning experience how you need to play for 60 minutes and (in the third) we didn’t play at all,” Paddock said.
“It feels like a loss.”