From the star of game three to not finishing game four, the Pats found the answer to goaltender Stuart Skinner Wednesday night leading to a 6-3 win.
Skinner let in five goals in two and a half periods Wednesday night just two days after stimying the Pats with a 39 save effort.
He was replaced by backup goaltender Joel Hofer after letting in the fifth goal.
Emil Oksanen, who scored one of those goals and notched two assists in a first-star effort, laughed when it was suggested the Pats showed Skinner was human.
“He’s human,” Oksanen chuckled. “He’s a good goalie but we will find a way to score.”
“Anyone can be beat,” added Oksanen’s linemate Jared Legien. “We just got to focus on getting the puck to the net and getting in his eyes.”
Legien himself got the puck to the net scoring a key goal for the Pats when they needed it in the second period.
Glenn Gawdin had cut the Pats lead to 2-1 with a goal on the powerplay, but just two minutes later Oksanen sent a pass up the middle to Legien that he fired through a defenceman’s legs and past Skinner to restore the Pats two-goal lead.
The Brandt Centre erupted and the energy didn’t stop for the rest of the night.
“It was awesome. Playing here and being able to score a goal like that it’s what you want to do coming into the lineup,” Legien said.
“That was certainly a big goal,” agreed head coach John Paddock. “To restore that two-goal lead takes the wind out of their sails a little bit. That was a great shot right where we want to shoot it, so it was good.”
There was a lot good for the Pats in this game from the intensity to the ability to finally break through Skinner’s wall.
“I think it was we were up a level. I think the difference in the game the other night was (the Broncos) were selling out doing everything they could on the ice … I think we matched that tonight or were better early in that area,” Paddock explained.
“We got guys who can score guys here, as I told them this morning, they got to score and our defencemen got to defend. So I just hope that we can keep scoring them like that.”
That scoring started early in the first period when Cam Hebig broke through off a pass from Sam Steel and Robbie Holmes for his third goal of the post-season.
Midway through the period Oksanen added to the Pats tally on the powerplay with helpers from Cale Fleury and Brady Pouteau to make it 2-0.
The Pats came on even stronger in the second period, scoring three goals, including the one from Legien, as well as one from Libor Hajek and beauty by Jake Leschyshyn from one knee off a pass from Nick Henry.
Even with a goal from Tyler Steenbergen late in the period, the Pats were flying high heading into the third up 5-2.
But then the penalty problems started.
The Broncos powerplay was two for two on the night and Regina kept finding themselves in the box wracking up three penalties in less than 10 minutes.
The Pats killed off two of them, but during the third Matteo Gennaro scored to make it 5-3.
Paddock said wasn’t as worried about the effectiveness of Pats penalty kill so much as he was concerned about how many penalties the Pats were taking in the first place.
“You can’t keep going to the well that way and expect to kill penalties off. It’s just too much,” he said.
With a bit of momentum flipping to their side with the Gennaro goal, the Broncos opted to pull their goalie late in the game, but the Pats held strong and Leschyshyn eventually scored on the empty net to seal it for Regina.
As for what was different between Monday night and Wednesday night, Oksanen said there was a decision made in the locker room.
“We just decided as a team that we want to be better tonight – all in – and I thought everyone put a good effort in.”
The Pats have now tied up their best of seven series at two games apiece.
They’ll travel to Swift Current for game five on Friday before returning home to the Brandt Centre for game six on Saturday.
Tickets for Saturday night’s game go on sale at noon on Thursday.