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Leader-Post article (Hunt unimpressed as Pats blow early lead)

September 11 2010 at 12:29 PM
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N. W. Bruin  (Login NW_Bruin_GM)

Response to Vancouver Sun article (The Autumn Queen is enthroned for a short but bountiful reign)

Hunt unimpressed as Pats blow early lead

By Greg Harder, The Leader-Post

September 11, 2010

If first impressions prove to be lasting ones, Dane Muench could find a home with the Regina Pats.

Coming off a solid training camp, the 18-year-old winger scored his second and third goals of the pre-season on Friday night. Unfortunately for Muench it came in a losing cause as the Pats blew a 3-0 lead and dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Brandon Wheat Kings before a skeleton crowd at the Brandt Centre.

"We just couldn't put them away," offered Muench. "We had lots of chances, just couldn't capitalize. You need those (wins), even if it is the pre-season."

Muench was invited to Pats' training camp as a free-agent walk-on after being cast adrift early last season by the Swift Current Broncos, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2007 bantam draft. He finished the campaign with the SJHL's Battlefords North Stars, notching 10 goals and 29 points in 31 games despite battling knee problems that required off-season surgery.

Muench's skill isn't in question, but he fell out of favour in Swift Current for reasons he declined to discuss. He's getting a second chance with the Pats, who are auditioning him as a top-six forward.

"As long as (head coach Curtis Hunt) is keeping me around it's good," said Muench, who had four assists in six WHL games with Swift Current last season. "I'm just trying to help out and play 60 minutes, trying to play in every situation, play defence before offence and trying to chip in where I can. If it works out it works out. You just have to try as hard as you can at the end of the day."

Muench has received mostly positive reviews so far, but Hunt wasn't quite as complimentary in his assessment after Friday's performance -- moreso regarding the team than just Muench.

"I thought tonight he fell off a little bit from where I've seen him earlier," Hunt said. "He does have some high-end skill. I thought he tried to track back to the defensive zone, put his head down and worked at that, but those offensive guys have to create offence. Him and (Colin) Reddin, we left them together the last two games, we'll leave them together (tonight in Brandon). Those guys have to create but they have to create through good honest play, not cutting corners and trying to poach pucks. That's an area of our game we really need to improve going on the road."

As for Muench ... "He was the least of our problems tonight," added Hunt. "He was a late addition to camp so I knew his fitness wasn't where it was supposed to be but he has worked hard. You can see what's there but at this time of year we're looking for guys who are willing to compete. It's sometimes not about what you get, it's what you give up. Tonight was a good example. We had enough (offence) and we didn't battle all the way through."

Goals by Hampus Gustafsson, Muench and Rieder skated Regina to a 3-0 lead early in the second period but Brandon came back to score three of the next four markers before Jesse Sinatynski tied it up with 4:08 left in regulation. Mark Schneider capped the comeback 58 seconds into overtime.

Pats goalie prospect Adam Beukeboom, making his WHL debut, stopped all 10 shots he faced in the first period and 21 of 24 through 40 minutes. Damien Ketlo went the rest of the way, stopping 12 of 14.

Beukeboom arrived in Regina on Wednesday, practised with the Pats for two days, signed a contract with the club on Friday and made his WHL debut that night.

David Toews scored twice for the Wheat Kings, who got a single from Jordan Fransoo. The Pats finished with a 41-38 advantage on the shot clock. Brandon starter Corbin Boes allowed three goals on 16 shots before he was replaced midway through the game by Ty Rimmer, who was stellar while turning aside 24 of 25.

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