The Regina Pats and Saskatoon Blades met in a Highway 11 rivalry game, with the Blades skating away with bragging rights and increasing their win streak to three games following a 4-3 overtime victory.
The Pats were coming into Friday night’s game off a 3-0 loss to the Kamloops Blazers Wednesday. The Blades had defeated the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Tuesday by a score of 5-3.
Both teams ran into penalty trouble in the first period. Despite the Pats taking two penalties and the Blades taking three, neither team was able to capitalize on the power play.
The first goal in the game would be scored by Regina’s Wyatt Sloboshan with 6:27 remaining in the first. Egor Zamula and Bryan Lockner would add helpers on the goal.
Tensions were high early in the game with Blades captain Evan Fiala and Bryce Platt dropping the gloves in the first period.
The Pats would be able to increase their goal advantage to two with Platt scoring early in the second period.
Matt Bradley would be sent to the penalty box with 4:07 remaining in the second frame for checking to the head. Just five seconds later Scott Mahovlich would take a delay of game penalty.
That five-on-three opportunity would allow the Blades to finally get on the board.
Mark Rubinchik would end Tyler Brown’s shutout bid with 3:27 left in the second period, scoring a goal on the power play.
The Pats would escape trouble with the team taking four penalties in the frame but only giving up one goal.
The Blades were able to take over the momentum of the game early in the third period with a goal from Fiala just 30 seconds into third.
The Blades would continue to put pressure on the Pats throughout the period. Saskatoon would find the go-ahead goal from Josh Paterson just over the mid-way point of the period.
But the Pats wouldn’t go away without a fight and found the equalizer with a power-play goal from Jake Leschyshyn.
The game would go to overtime, with both teams taking advantage of the extra ice during the three-on-three play.
Saskatoon would be the one to find a way to win. Brown couldn’t locate the puck and Fiala would find the back of the net for his second of the night and win the game.
The loss was the Pats second in a row.
Blades head coach Dean Brockman said the win was needed.
“We’ve got to find a way to get wins, it doesn’t matter if we’re playing Regina or (Prince Albert) or Swift Current, we’ve got to find a way to get wins.”
Fiala echoed his coach’s statement.
“We know we’re chasing a playoff spot and two points definitely helps us.”
After the game, Pats head coach John Paddock disagreed with the penalty to Bradley.
“I thought the guy was diving to get the puck, (the ref) said he got him in the head… There’s a difference I think between targeting the head and contact on that kind of play,” Paddock said.
Paddock said he thought Brown had kept his team in the game, especially when they gave up some bad breakaways.
Leschyshyn said these division games are ones you have to get.
“Everyone’s battling for a playoff spot eventually so to get wins against them early makes it easier in the long run.”
The Pats will be in Action Saturday night at home against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Saskatoon will play host to the Kelowna Rockets Saturday night as well.
Team Canada World Juniors roster set
Before the game Friday night, Team Canada announced the final round of cuts for their World Juniors squad.
Pats defenceman Josh Mahura will be returning to the Pats after not making the squad this year. Coach John Paddock said he expects him to be in the lineup Saturday night.
Pats Captain Sam Steel, Moose Jaw Warriors Captain Brett Howden and Swift Current Bronco Tyler Steenbergen all made the final roster.