Pats find revenge
Greg Harder, The Leader-Post
Published: Monday, November 10, 2008
Time heals all wounds? Don't tell that to the Regina Pats.
Although more than seven months and 20-plus games have passed since the Pats were coldly jettisoned from the WHL playoffs by the Swift Current Broncos, the wounds are still fresh.
That was apparent on Sunday night when Regina dominated Swift Current in their first meeting of the season, posting a 5-1 win before 4,327 spectators at the Brandt Centre. As an added bonus, the Pats (13-6-1-3) leapfrogged the Broncos and Saskatoon Blades for first place in the East Division. Swift Current and Saskatoon still have two games in hand.
Leader-Post / Matt Ius (left) and Cody Eakin of the Swift Current Broncos collide with Matt Delahey of the Regina Pats Sunday night at the Brandt Centre.
"They knocked us out of the playoffs so you always have that bitter feeling towards them," offered Pats left-winger Michael MacAngus. "This is only one game against them -- we have seven more -- but you want to get some revenge."
Swift Current's Keegan Dansereau and Regina's Brett Leffler traded goals in a relatively cautious opening frame, but things started to loosen up in the second period courtesy of some highlight-reel material from the two Jordans. Eberle danced into the slot and dropped the puck off to Weal, who quickly relayed it back to Eberle on his way to the net, slipping a low shot past Travis Yonkman.
Eberle went from scorer to playmaker on a subsequent two-man advantage when his cross-crease pass found MacAngus for an easy tap-in. MacAngus also had a glorious opportunity to put Regina up 4-1, but he missed a wide open net from the doorstep with 15 seconds left in the second period.
It didn't matter, anyway.
Pats imports Tomas Hricina and Rudolf Cerveny converted a pair of rebounds in the third period to turn the game into a rout.
"I think we were lacking a little emotional intensity," said Broncos assistant coach Tim Kehler, whose team was also without five regulars due to injuries. "Regina really came into this game looking like they had some scars from (last season) and also the fact that this was a game for first place in the division. They seemed to have that mindset and that intensity about their group which we weren't able to match outside of maybe the first five minutes."
It was the second straight victory in which Regina was able to set the tone against a smaller, faster opponent. The other was a 4-2 win on Friday night versus the Medicine Hat Tigers.
"When you're playing small, quick teams it's all about body position when you don't have the puck," explained Pats assistant coach Terry Perkins. "We did a great job of working our systems and working together, creating turnovers. What added to that is I thought we did a great job of being physical in both games. I'm not sure going into the weekend we really thought of ourselves as more of a physical team but when you compare yourself to those teams you realize it's an advantage you can have and our guys did a great job of recognizing it."
The Pats were also stingy on defence, allowing just nine shots through two periods and 17 in total compared to 28 of their own. Yonkman, the hero of Swift Current's playoff drive last season, suffered his first loss of the season (5-1-0-0). Regina's Linden Rowat, meanwhile, has yet to lose a game in regulation time (7-0-1-1).
"We all know what happened last year in the playoffs," added Rowat. "It was a little extra motivation for games like this. They've been the team to beat since the beginning of the season so it's a way to prove to ourselves that we can be up there and take first place."
EXTRAS: The Pats are reportedly talking to the Moose Jaw Warriors about sending a goalie to the Friendly City ... Leffler, a Saskatchewan Roughriders' fan, wore a B.C. Lions' hat during post-game interviews after losing a bet to trainer Greg Mayer on Saturday's CFL playoff game. Leffler admitted that it made him feel "very dirty" to wear the hat but "I'm a man of honour" ... Kehler ran the bench for Swift Current because head coach/GM Dean Chynoweth was in Toronto for the induction of his late father, Ed Chynoweth, into the Hockey Hall of Fame ... The Pats are back in action Wednesday at the Brandt Centre against the Calgary Hitmen
Read Slap Shots, Greg Harder's blog about news from the
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© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2008