It was Country Night at the Sasktel Centre on Friday, but it’s safe to say neither the Saskatoon Blades nor the Regina Pats got the message in a game filled with highlight goals and lacking a blue-collar defensive effort.
Playing to a 12-goal scoring feast, the Regina Pats would steer themselves to a thrilling 7-5 victory over the Saskatoon Blades after being down 4-0 late in the second period.
“You got to work hard and you got to put your foot on the pedal all the time,” said Blades head coach Dean Brockman of letting the lead slowly slip away.
“We just didn’t find our legs in the second part of the game.”
The Blades lit up the scoreboard after four first period powerplays put Saskatoon on the offensive early.
Blades super-rookie Kirby Dach started the scoring by finishing a tic-tac-toe passing play past rookie goaltender Jacob Wasserman.
A quick shot off a faceoff would double the Blades lead before Eric Florchuk notched a powerplay goal of his own, finding open ice and steeping into a shot that gave Wasserman no chance for the 3-0 Blades lead.
Things went from bad to worse for the Humboldt native making his first career WHL start. After retrieving a puck in the corner, Wasserman sent a pass directly to the waiting stick of Gage Ramsay in front of the vacant net for what must be the easiest goal of Ramsay’s life.
From then on, the game belonged to Regina.
“There’s not a lot of leads that are safe,” said Regina Pats head coach John Paddock.
“We played good enough in the last forty minutes to come away with the win.”
The Pats seemingly sparked to life after a Tanner Sidaway and Jake Kustra fight halfway through the second period.
Soon after, Regina would fire home two quick goals in a 1:45 span.
First, it was former Blade Cameron Hebig burning his old team with a one-timer after Sam Steel drew in three Blades defenders and sent a perfect saucer pass over to his linemate.
Then, the Pats caught the Blades standing still, quickly turning a 3-on-1 into its second goal of the night for a 4-2 score after the second period.
Regina would begin the third period with even more energy, scoring less than a minute in.
The teams would trade goals a couple minutes later before Regina would cap the thrilling comeback on a Jared Legien breakway goal with 2:34 remaining. An empty netter would send the 3,982-crowd home disappointed.
Alternatively, Pats standout forward Sam Steel had a tough time wiping the smile off of his face after the victory.
“Those are the funnest wins in hockey,” Steel said after his three-point performance. “We knew what we needed to do and we battled back and showed some character.
“That really builds a team together.”