It was a score that betrayed how many chances the Pats had to score.
Regina lost 4-1 to the Swift Current Broncos in game three of their best of seven series in front of a sold-out crowd at the Brandt Centre.
But it wasn’t for lack of trying.
The Pats outshot the Broncos in every period for a total of 40 shots on net, but only one went in.
The Broncos, on the other hand, had much more luck on their 24 shots, finding a way past Kubic four times.
“Anytime you’re not scoring it’s a little frustrating,” admitted defenceman Josh Mahura, whose own frustration bubbled over to a slashing penalty late in the third period.
“Obviously we wanted to get up on this series here, this game. But (there are) still a lot of games to play. We’re going to regroup tomorrow.”
Captain Sam Steel, who saw a very large chunk of time on the ice Monday night, agreed with Mahura’s assessment.
“It is frustrating knowing that we put forward a pretty good effort, had a lot of shots, a lot of opportunities and seemed like we kind of ran into a hot goalie and our little mistakes got the best of us.”
The Pats started the first period with an immense amount of pressure against the Broncos, and a hooking penalty taken by Andrew Fyten gave them an early powerplay.
It took the Broncos a minute and half of a two-minute penalty and a whistle to get the puck out of their zone, but Regina wasn’t able to get past Stuart Skinner, something that would become a theme for the night.
The Broncos goalie, fresh off being named the WHL goaltender of the week, put up a 39 save first-star performance that likely saved his team the game.
“I think we made life difficult for him the last couple of games. We’ll certainly look at it and talk about it,” said head coach John Paddock on whether they need to change their approach against the hot goaltender.
The Broncos struck first, not long after the Pats first powerplay ended with a top-shelf shot over Kubic’s left shoulder.
The second came about five minutes later and was masterfully set up by Giorgio Estephan to captain Glenn Gawdin who found the empty side of the net to make it 2-0 on the powerplay.
Meanwhile, the Pats’ powerplay was unable to get past not only Skinner but a Broncos team that got down and blocked shots at every opportunity, but Paddock said he’s not worried about it.
“(The powerplay has) had a lot of good looks in the game … it’s not like it’s not there. We had lots of good looks, we had lots of attempts. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t,” he said.
“I think (the players are) shooting a lot but they’re not getting to the net all the time,” he added.
The Pats held off the Broncos in the second period, and the score remained 2-0 heading into the third.
But Swift Current came back with a third goal of the game just five minutes into the final period with Tanner Nagel finding his way past Kubic to extend his team’s lead to three.
Halfway through the period, it seemed the Pats finally got the breakthrough they were looking for when Emil Oksanen fired a shot at Skinner that slipped through his legs and in.
However, the lift the Pats got from cutting the Broncos’ lead down was short lived when Gawdin took a pass from Steenbergen 45 seconds later and made it 4-1 – the eventual final score.
But there was no panic from the players or the coach after the game.
“This is what playoffs are, they’re long and they’re hard. There’s momentum swings in the game,” Paddock said.
“It’s a long series. This is exactly the position we were in last year … the series isn’t lost in one shift or one powerplay or one game. It’s a seven-game series for a reason.”
The Pats and Broncos square off again on Wednesday night in game four at the Brandt Centre.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
A small number of tickets were still available as of Monday night.