A strong first-period performance by goaltender Dean McNabb and a solid powerplay couldn’t get the Pats past Seattle Thunderbirds Sunday afternoon at the Brandt Centre.
Regina was outshot 20-4 in the first but went into the first intermission tied at zero on the back of their back up goaltender.
“Dean’s been rock solid lately for us,” said assistant coach Brad Herauf. “There’s been a real transformation with him the last couple weeks here and he gave us another chance to win tonight.”
Scoring came alive for both teams in the second with the Thunderbirds’ Andrej Kukuca collecting Jaxan Kaluski’s rebound and finding the open part of the net to get past McNabb.
Goaltender Roddy Ross took a delay of game penalty roughly 30 seconds later putting the Pats on the powerplay and Robbie Holmes evened things up for the Pats off a shot from the faceoff circle.
The scoring continued through the period with Matthew Wedman finding the back of the net for the Thunderbirds and the Pats capitalizing on another powerplay opportunity.
This time it was forward Sebastian Streu that tied things up for the Pats and the teams hit intermission tied at two goals apiece. The Pats also evened up the shots to 12-11 in their own favour in the second period.
“We had a really good second period I thought. We got a couple powerplays that we capitalized on so that was nice, ” said goaltender Dean McNabb, who added that head coach Dave Struch sent a message to them in the first intermission and the team took it to heart.
But things came off the rails for the team in the third. Costly penalties allowed the Thunderbirds to get the leg up on Regina.
Seattle’s Noah Philp and Regina’s Riley Krane both scored for their clubs early in the period, but Seattle made good use of their powerplay opportunities scoring one with a two-man advantage and one with the single man advantage.
The T-Birds added one more even strength goal with a little more than two minutes remaining making the final score 6-3.
It was a rough weekend for the Pats, who had to play three games in three days. Herauf said that fatigue could well have been a factor.
“You can look at fatigue but I think the biggest thing for us is just some mental lapses caught us there at the end,” he said.
But there are always positives and Herauf was happy with the way the powerplay unit played which went three for six on the night.
Not to mention the fact that that there had a pretty significant overhaul of the team in the lead up to the weekend with the club making four trades that sent Marco Creta, Scott Mahovlich and Jadon Joseph to Kootenay, Lethbridge and Vancouver respectively. In return, new faces entered the line-up including Blake Allan and Tyson Feist.
Given all that upheaval, Herauf is pleased.
“We have a certain style of hockey we want to play and as long as we keep on getting that from all 20 guys it doesn’t matter who is in the lineup – we’re happy.”
The Pats are back in action at the Brandt Centre Wednesday night against Portland.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
- Andrej Kukuca – Seattle (2 goals)
- Kyle Walker – Regina (2 assists)
- Noah Philp – Seattle (2 goals, 1 assist)