It was slow going at the start, but once the Pats got going there was no stopping them.
Regina scored four goals in the third period on route to their 5-2 Game 1 win over the Calgary Hitmen.
“That’s the way playoff hockey goes. Sometimes it takes until the very end it takes until the third period or sometimes over time and you just got to stick with the plan,” said Pats captain Adam Brooks.
Brooks led the team in scoring Friday night, scoring two back to back goals about 90 seconds apart, the second of which would end up being the eventual game-winner.
It also seemed to give the team some much-needed breathing room to start playing the fast, high-intensity hockey everyone is used to seeing.
“I think that’s just how it goes if the right guys get the puck in their hands at the right time things happen,” head coach John Paddock said post-game.
The first period did not feature the Pats scoring touch, but Regina dominated the play through the period, outshooting the Hitmen 9-2.
At the halfway point of the second period, Josh Mahura was called for hooking, putting the Hitmen on the powerplay. A minute in Jake Kryski took advantage and put the puck past Tyler Brown.
After taking the penalty that lead to the Hitmen’s first goal, Mahura fired back late in the second on the Pats’ own powerplay. A beautiful shot from the faceoff circles pinged off the post and went in to make it 1-1. The score held into the intermission.
A rejuvenated Pats team came out flying in the third period. A masterful play set up with Connor Hobbs and Filip Ahl gets Adam Brooks the puck and he makes no mistake putting it past Porter four minutes into the period.
The 20-year-old was shown on the big screen after looking up at the adoring crowd with a smile.
And Brooks’ didn’t stop there.
Less than 90 seconds after his last goal the captain takes a pass from Filip Ahl and scores again giving his team a much more comfortable 3-1 lead.
However, the Hitmen weren’t about to give up on game one, and Kryski fought back to score for Calgary and bring them within one.
After killing a key Broncos powerplay, the Pats continued to press the Hitmen in their end. This time it was Bryan Lockner who got past Porter and put the Pats up 4-2 with six minutes left to play.
Dawson Leedahl was sent to the penalty box with 3:30 left in the period, but that didn’t seem to bother Austin Wagner, who used his pure speed to blast past all of the Hitmen on the ice, coasted with the puck until the perfect moment and put it in the back of the night, sealing the Pats win 5-2.
“It’s pretty incredible of quick he can get going and how fast he really is,” said defenceman Josh Mahura who played against Wagner before being traded to the Pats at the deadline.
“You have to respect his speed and you have to know when he’s out there at all times,” he added.
The Pats are back in action tomorrow night for Game 2 against the Hitmen. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
- Adam Brooks (Regina) – 2 goals, 2 assists
- Austin Wagner (Regina) – 1 goal
- Jake Kryski (Calgary) – 2 goals