With the Tim Horton’s Brier moving into their rink, the Regina Pats are heading out on the road for nearly two weeks.
Fortunately, they’ll do so with some extra reinforcements.
Starting goaltender Ryan Kubic is back from a concussion that had him sidelined since the second weekend in February.
Initially, it was thought that Kubic had the flu, but when the symptoms didn’t get any better, they realized it was more serious than that.
Kubic said he’s not sure what happened that brought on the injury.
“The symptoms started to come on so I wasn’t really too sure and just took a few days off and it wasn’t getting any better so after that just took some rest and some time off and felt better after that,” he explained.
In the interim, teammate Max Paddock stepped into the starting role in and played admirably. In six straight starts, he helped his team win four games, including two against the league’s best Moose Jaw Warriors.
Paddock said the experience afforded him some new confidence in his skill between the pipes.
“If something ever happened down the road, I feel like they can rely on me to be that guy. It feels good knowing that,” said the 17-year-old netminder.
His success came as no surprise to his teammates, however.
“We feel like he’s been ready for this and when he got called to step up for us he kind of just took it and was ready to roll with it,” said defenceman Josh Mahura. “He’s had some big performances for us and stepped up in the right way.”
And it feels pretty good for the Pats head coach, as well. John Paddock – who is Max’s uncle alongside being his coach – said he’s not sure how he’s going to handle the goaltending going forward, but he feels confident in putting either Kubic or Max in net.
“Our goaltending in the last half of the season now looks like it’s a strong point of the team for sure,” John said.
Meanwhile, the curling sheets were already close to finished Monday afternoon and the Pats practiced in the Cooperators Centre instead of in the Brandt Centre.
On Tuesday the team will travel to Banff where they’ll practice on an outdoor ice surface and participate in some team building.
The Pats are next in action Saturday against the Calgary Hitmen before heading to Edmonton on Sunday. They don’t return home until March 14 against Prince Albert.