It was close but no cigar for the Regina Pats Sunday as they faced their Highway 1 rival Moose Jaw Warriors.
Both teams were looking for their first win of the season, but it was the Warriors who came out victorious inching out a 2-1 victory over the Pats.
It was really the first period that killed Regina. Moose Jaw’s only two goals – both scored by Tristan Langan – were scored in that period.
“That’s what lost it,” said head coach Dave Struch after the game. “A couple penalties – obviously they scored on the powerplay. They did win some battles that we would like to have back but the final 40 (minutes) was really big for us.”
Big because the Pats put a goal of their own on the board, but also because there was a marked difference in the fight the team showed.
Koby Morrisseau put the Pats on the board six minutes into the period and the team continued the charge through that period and beyond.
The team was trending in the right direction after 7-2, 3-1 and 8-4 losses to start the season.
“There are glimpses of brilliance out there,” said defenceman Aaron Hyman. “I think we’re making the right play sometimes but it’s just a matter of making it every time you can.”
Hyman specifically pointed to the third period and the success his team seemed to have in moving the puck and getting shots on net. Regina was able to nearly even out the shots in the final period hitting the net 15 times in comparison to eight and nine times respectively in the two previous periods.
“I think we’re playing a little bit too much in the d-zone. I think we got to transition a bit quicker in the neutral zone and just start playing fast. We were doing that in the third period and they couldn’t even withstand us so it’s just a matter of playing that way for three periods,” Hyman said.
And it’s something the team can build on and encouraged their head coach who will bring the team back to the rink on Monday to show them the things they did right.
“I commend our guys for engaging staying engaged. They could have easily said ‘oh not again’ but they played really, really hard and I thought that when we did see some success from it they built on it,” Struch said.
The Pats are next in action Friday night in Swift Current.
Pats’ athletic therapist celebrates 1,500 career games
In his first WHL game athletic therapist Greg Mayer saw a player nearly slice his thumb off and at that point he wondered what he got himself into.
Fifteen-hundred games later and what he got himself into was a career in junior hockey that was marked by past colleagues, coaches and players during a special tribute before Sunday’s Pats versus Warriors game.
That is what struck Mayer the most as he looked back on his career with the Warriors and then the Pats – all the friendships he’s made and the players he’s watched grow up.
“You get to see these young guys and see how they develop and someone like (former Pat) Garrett Mitchell this summer bringing his two young daughters and introducing them to me. You get to see stuff like that, see guys like Jordan Eberle play pro. It’s about the friendships it’s about who you work with and at the end of the day I don’t really remember 1,500 games but I remember all the people I worked with and spent time with,” Mayer said.