Playing Chiefs will be a test
Published: Monday, November 17, 2008
Regina Pats head coach Dale Derkatch would like the next game to be a barometer for his team.
"I hope so, and I'm sure it will be,'' Derkatch said of Wednesday's home date with the Spokane Chiefs -- the defending Memorial Cup champions. "I hope we learned from the Calgary game.''
Spokane will visit the Brandt Centre one week after the Central Division-leading Calgary Hitmen whipped the host Pats 6-2. Derkatch looks for an improved showing against another one of the WHL's elite teams.
"This is another one of those opportunities to show what we really can do,'' Derkatch said after Saturday's 2-1 road victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. "Hopefully how we played (Saturday) can translate over into that game in terms of our structure, sticking to the game plan, everybody buying in and playing really disciplined.''
Derkatch was delighted with his team's performance against the Raiders, who were outshot 37-23.
"The guys came and played a sound game,'' Derkatch said. "They stuck to the plan, played good defence, moved pucks quickly and really worked hard the whole game, and it showed. I thought we were pretty dominant.''
The Pats were more dominant than the score indicated, according to their bench boss.
"We had a lot of opportunities to make it more than 2-1,'' Derkatch said. "I think a game like that is good for us. Those are the ones you're going to need when it gets down to crunch time down the road. Those are good character wins and, on the road, it's a nice win.''
Brett Leffler opened the scoring at 7:47 of the first period, but ex-Pat Justin Bernhardt tied the game at 9:20 of the second frame. Jordan Eberle scored the winning goal at 9:20 of the third period.
Also on Saturday, Calgary improved its record to 21-4-1-0 by defeating the Moose Jaw Warriors 6-1 at the Civic Centre. Moose Jaw has lost nine of its last 10 games. Calgary has won eight in a row.
On Sunday, the Saskatoon Blades overcame an early four-goal deficit and defeated the visiting Swift Current Broncos 6-5. Swift Current went ahead 4-0 at 8:24 of the first period.
The rally enabled Saskatoon to increase its lead in the East Division standings to three points. Saskatoon (17-6-1-0) is followed by Regina (14-8-1-3), Swift Current (14-10-0-0), Prince Albert (13-14-0-0), the Brandon Wheat Kings (12-9-1-0) and Moose Jaw (6-14-0-1).
© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2008