One of the Pats newest members is making one of the biggest early impacts.
Emil Okesanen, a second-round pick of the Pats in the European draft, joined the team just this year but is already among the league’s top scorers.
The Finnish forward scored a hat trick Sunday afternoon in the Regina Pats 6-1 win over the Red Deer Rebels.
“He knows where to go to score and he can shoot the puck,” head coach John Paddock said after the game. “That’s the kind of thing we were hoping for (when we drafted him) and we’re seeing it right now so it seems like that’s a good sign,”
“It doesn’t matter who is doing those goals, (it’s) those wins (that) matter,” Okesanen said. “So I’m happy for the win and hopefully, I will get the goals in the future because I love it.”
It was Okesanen who opened the scoring in the game in the first period when his shot on net bounced off a Rebels player and into the net.
Okesanen then came back in the second period to score the would-be game-winner off a feed from Dawson Davidson.
The Rebels closed out the period with a power play goal off the stick of Mason McCarty to cut the Pats lead in half to 2-1, but Red Deer wouldn’t find the back of the net again.
Regina flew out of the second intermission fast and furious adding another four goals in roughly five minutes.
First, Okesanen completed his hat trick off a feed from Matt Bradley at 4:27, then 90 seconds later Bryce Platt scored his second of the season with help from the newly returned Sam Steel.
The also newly returned Josh Mahura hit the scoreboard next with a pass from Steel at 7:06.
“Feels good to be back, I’m happy to get the season started here and get things rolling with the guys,” Mahura said.
Paddock said the impact of the return of both Steel and Mahura from Anaheim Ducks training camp is immeasurable.
Mahura added another point when he fed Dawson Davidson for his second goal of the year, sealing the 6-1 victory for the Pats.
“They fit right back in,” John Paddock said of Mahura and Steel. “We saw other years when guys came back (from NHL camps) they were no good for a couple weeks but clearly, they’ve come back and stepped right in quickly into looks like top form game shape.”
Mahura said the team was able to take advantage of a tired Rebels team, which helped them break open the scoring in the final period.
“Just continuing to keep the pressure on. I think they had (three games in three nights) here so we knew they might start tailing off a little bit,” Mahura eexplained “In the (locker) room we were talking about ‘keeping going, keeping going’ and it paid off.”
“I’m happy with the game, for the most part, from start to finish, but when you have a team like that you have to put the gas pedal down,” Paddock added.
“We took advantage of a good team’s schedule.”
The Pats are back in action Friday night in Medicine Hat. The next home game is Saturday against the Saskatoon Blades.
- Tonight’s stars were Emil Okesanen, Sam Steel and Josh Mahura
- The Pats were 2 of 4 on the powerplay, the Rebels were 1 of 7.
- The Pats were penalized 11 times in the game, including a game misconduct by Sam Steel and a five-minute major to Jonathan Smart for fighting.
- Steel has three points in his both of his first two games back from Ducks camp.