It’s becoming a bit of a playoff tradition in the WHL as the Pats and Broncos are set to face off once again.
Regina and Swift Current will meet in the playoffs for the third time in four years when the puck drops Friday night in Speedy Creek.
The Pats have skated away as victors in the last two series against the Broncos, including coming back from a 3-1 deficit last season.
Regina Pats Captain Sam Steel said the team is ready for the playoff atmosphere.
“It’s playoffs, anything can happen, we’re a confident group, we’ve been playing good hockey here in the later half of this season,” Steel said. “We’re ready to go.”
While the Broncos may be using last year’s loss as motivation, Steel added there’s a lot of motivating factors for a team this late in the season.
“They’re going to come out hard, it’s going to be a really good series.”
Head Coach John Paddock expects his team to “Play the game right,” which involves a lot of physical play.
“If you happen to take, once in a while, a penalty by being physical, we’re alright with that,” Paddock said.
He said his concern with penalties are the stick-related infractions, such as tripping and slashing.
Jesse Gabrielle said the team will need to go out and match the Broncos’ style of play.
“We’re going to have to be physical, set the tone first,” he said. “We can’t let them set it.”
Depth and size are two of the team’s major improvements over the summer and during the WHL trade deadline, something Paddock said they knew they needed to do.
“No matter what anybody says, the standards change in the playoffs and so I think we’re more prepared for the standard changing.”
Last year’s team had to play with a few unfamiliar faces due to injuries, forcing the team to call up a few players who weren’t in the regular lineup.
Despite the game only being a day away, Paddock has yet to reveal who’s going to be his starting goaltender in game one: Ryan Kubic or Max Paddock.
Kubic was acquired at the WHL Trade Deadline, along with Cameron Hebig, from the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for Tyler Brown, Bryan Lockner and picks.
Max has been one of the hottest goalies in the league in recent contests, only losing twice in his last 12 games.
John said they have a pair of goaltenders who have both been performing well, with their goals-against average among the top three or four teams in the league.
“They’re both ready to play.”
Puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Credit Union i-plex.
The Pats will return to the Brandt Centre to host game three on Monday.