Leader-Post article (Pats lose another close one)March 14 2011 at 7:19 AM
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Pats lose another close one
By Greg Harder, Leader-Post
March 12, 2011
Morgan Klimchuk (left) of the Regina Pats battles for the puck with Jesse Paradis of the Moose Jaw Warriors during WHL sction at the Brandt Centre on Friday night.
Photograph by: Don Healy, Leader-Post, Leader-Post
The Regina Pats' entire season could be summed up in their performance against the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Close but not close enough.
Like they've done all season, the Warriors found a way to beat Regina on Friday night, posting a 4-3 comeback victory before 5,410 WHL spectators at the Brandt Centre.
Moose Jaw (38-25-2-3) has won six of seven meetings this season, coming from behind on five different occasions. The season series concludes tonight with Regina's final visit to the Moose Jaw Civic Centre, which is slated to close its doors in favour of the new Multiplex.
"It's really tough when it's the same thing going on over and over again," offered Pats centre Jordan Weal, who scored his 39th and 40th goals of the season. "We get these leads going into the third period and it's something we've struggled with all year, not being able to hold leads. I don't know what it is. We tried to get ourselves wrapped around changing what has happened in the past but the same thing happened tonight and it's really disappointing.
"We've found ways to lose."
The Warriors, on the other hand, have found ways to win. Especially against the Pats.
"Tonight was a good example of just staying with it and being patient within our own game," said head coach Dave Hunchak, whose team outshot the Pats 34-23. "What I liked about our game was we didn't change. We got down early, played from behind basically the whole game until the third period, and we didn't change. We just kept applying pressure."
Weal opened the scoring 6: 04 into the game when he finessed his way out from behind the net, spun around just outside the crease and released a screen shot that surprised goalie Thomas Heemskerk.
The Warriors tied it up 1: 39 into the second period when captain Spencer Edwards showed off his best change-up, releasing a shot from the top of the right face-off circle that hit the stick of defenceman Ricard Blidstrand. The change of speeds fooled goaltender Damien Ketlo, who watched it flutter past his glove.
The Pats got it back five minutes later when captain Garrett Mitchell took a big hit from Dylan Mcllrath just outside Moose Jaw's blueline. Lane Scheidl grabbed the loose puck in stride, cut to the net and scored to make it 2-1, after which Mitchell skated across the ice and picked a fight with Mcllrath, earning an instigator penalty and 10-minute misconduct for his trouble.
Regina killed off the penalty but Moose Jaw tied it up shortly thereafter when Cody Beach muscled his way to the net and Andrew Johnson cleaned up the leftovers. Weal responded just 1: 13 later with a nice individual effort as he circled Moose Jaw's zone, found some open ice up the middle and drilled a slap shot off the inside of the post.
Moose Jaw tied it again, 1: 10 into the third, after Beach goaded Shayne Neigum into a roughing penalty. Morgan Rielly made Regina pay when he wheeled to the top of the circle and wired a wrist shot under the crossbar on Ketlo.
The Warriors completed the comeback with 2: 51 remaining courtesy of a point shot by Collin Bowman that was redirected by Sebastian Svendsen.
"We did lots of real good things and maybe lost our composure a little bit," said Pats head coach Curtis Hunt. "We didn't need to fight either time, I didn't think. Both times we came out shorthanded and one of them happened to be the game-tying goal.
"It is a recurring theme," he added of his team's play against Moose Jaw. "We've found a way to give it up in the end. That's disappointing. It's frustrating for the kids because they worked. Our group, like usual, we don't quit. We weren't always rewarded for our work."
EXTRAS: The Pats (23-37-6-2) fell seven points behind Prince Albert for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference . . . Ketlo returned after missing three games with a head injury suffered at the hands of the Warriors . . . Pats top prospect Morgan Klimchuk, the No. 5 pick in the 2010 bantam draft, made his home-ice debut but played just a few shifts. He took the spot of overage forward Colin Reddin, who was a healthy scratch.
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