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Leader-Post article (Blades dominate, but Pats prevail)

January 15 2011 at 7:08 PM
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N. W. Bruin  (Login NW_Bruin_GM)


Response to Van Province article (Weekend grind for Giants begins Friday night with Medicine Hat)

 
Blades dominate, but Pats prevail

Pats 4, Blades 3 (SO)

By Greg Harder, Leader-Post

January 13, 2011

Regina Pats' Garrett Mitchell (left) stays on Chris Collins of the Saskatoon Blades during Wednesday's game at the Brandt Centre.

Photograph by: Don Healy, Leader-Post, Leader-Post

The Saskatoon Blades have positioned themselves as one of the WHL's elite teams this season -- perhaps even a Memorial Cup contender.

There won't be any argument from Regina Pats goalie Matt Hewitt.

Hewitt withstood a 62-shot barrage Wednesday night as the resilient Pats shocked the top team in the WHL with a 4-3 shootout decision before 3,548 fans at the Brandt Centre.

"It's really hard to put that into words," said the rookie netminder. "The feeling is unbelievable. You want to give your team a chance to win and that's what I tried to do out there."

The Blades didn't make it easy.

"At a point you get tired," admitted Hewitt, whose team was outshot 62-32. "Every time there's a break, you try to catch your breath, get some water. Sometimes you're trying to stall. When you're tired and dehydrated, you have to stay focused. I tried my best to do that."

It was good enough to upset the Blades, who are ranked No. 3 in the CHL. They'll be even better with the addition of world junior MVP Brayden Schenn, who was acquired Monday in a blockbuster trade with the Brandon Wheat Kings, but he's still out with a shoulder injury.

The Blades could have used his finishing touch Wednesday in a game they dominated but couldn't put away.

"We had ample opportunity to win the game," said Blades head coach/GM Lorne Molleken. "There's not much more you can do. I'm sure that young guy will remember this game. He was sensational for them."

Regina opened the scoring just 3:10 into the first period when Jordan Weal drove to the net and released a shot that was stopped by goalie Adam Morrison, but Lyndon Martell took a whack at the rebound and it trickled through the Blades' netminder.

Pats captain Garrett Mitchell made it 2-0 on the power play with a great individual effort. He dodged a check along the boards and drove to the net, cutting around one defender before firing a hard wrist shot past Morrison.

Lukas Sutter got the Blades on the board with the lone goal of the second period when he took a pass in front and neatly tucked it over Hewitt.

The shooting gallery continued when Regina's Shayne Neigum received a double high-sticking penalty. The home team killed off the infraction, hanging by a thread while the Blades swarmed Hewitt, who ended the period with a brilliant pad save on Curtis Hamilton.

Everyone in the building knew the Blades would make a big push in the third period and they certainly did.

The visitors tied it up 2:53 into the final frame when Stefan Elliott's point shot found eyes through a screen and past Hewitt.

Art Bidlevskii put the home team back out front with an accurate point shot of his own, threading the needle to the top corner on Morrison's blocker side. It was the veteran defenceman's first goal of the season.

Saskatoon nearly tied it up with 6:15 remaining when a redirected puck hit a post and bounced back out. Just a few seconds later -- on a Blades' power play -- Marek Viedensky fired a shot that Hewitt failed to squeeze, hitting the glove and floating across the line to make it 3-3.

Shortly thereafter, Regina's Lane Scheidl was robbed by a post.

Hewitt did his part with another big save, robbing Chris Collins on a partial breakaway with 3:50 left. With 1:02 remaining, Saskatoon's Brent Benson was knocked down on another partial breakaway, but there was no call and Hewitt made the save.

In overtime, Neigum took another four-minute penalty -- this one for checking from behind -- but Regina somehow weathered the storm.

In the shootout, Mitchell scored the winner in the fourth round while Hewitt stopped two of four attempts.

Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

 
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