The Pats dropped back-to-back decisions against the second place Swift Current Broncos this weekend.
After falling 3-1 on Saturday afternoon in Swift Current, the Pats hoped to reverse their fortunes on home ice on Sunday but were outmatched by the Broncos 4-1.
Head coach John Paddock said he hates to keep using it as an excuse, but his players – still less than a month from a roster overall haul at the deadline, are still learning to play together as a team.
“We need just what we saw from them (Sunday),” Paddock explained. “In all three areas on the ice (we need) everybody to be committed to doing the job.”
“What we saw from Swift Current was a really committed team game … we did have more shots and stuff, but they’re doing a great job inside the blue line so that’s really been a key to them.”
The Pats did outshoot the Broncos 42-35, but the Broncos scored early and keep up the pressure. With Sam Steel and Tanner Nagel in the box for roughing Beck Malenstyn got past Pats netminder Ryan Kubic during four on four to put Swift Current up 1-0 with 1:15 left in the period.
The Broncos held the lead into the first intermission.
The Pats started the second period on the powerplay after a late holding penalty to Gennaro in the first, but they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
Halfway through the period, assistant captain Matteo Gennaro got past the Pats for the Broncos second goal of the game.
Some madness ensued in the moments after when Kubic lost the blade of his skate and was unable to stand up through an onslaught of shots before the referees blew the whistle.
Kubic held firm, however, and the Broncos went into the second intermission up 2-0.
A hooking penalty to Nick Henry 30 seconds into the third put the Pats on the penalty kill early, but the Pats got through it without allowing a goal.
The two teams each added another penalty that eventually lead to a Broncos powerplay. Swift Current peppered Kubic with shots before Aleksi Heponiemi found the back of the net to give the Broncos a solid three-goal lead.
But just 90 seconds later, Cale Fleury answered back for the Pats with a shot from just inside the blue line.
The Pats were down 3-1 with 13 minutes remaining.
But it was a costly penalty by Fleury with five minutes left that put the Pats back on their heels. The Broncos powerplay hammered the net, and Kubic didn’t stand a chance on the goal from Glenn Gawdin, sealing the 4-1 win for Swift Current.
Paddock said Kubic could not be faulted for the game Sunday and that he’s been pleased with his netminder’s play since coming to the team at the deadline.
“He’s been outstanding, our goaltending has been excellent.”
The Pats are next in action Wednesday night against Prince George.
- Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos (1 goal, 2 assists)
- Stuart Skinner, Swift Current Broncos (41 saves)
- Matteo Gennaro, Swift Current Broncos (1 goal, 1 assist)