Pats' start signals finish
By Rob Vanstone, The Leader-Post
March 31, 2012
The Regina Pats erupted for their first shot on goal at the 57-second mark ... of the second period.
By then, the outcome was painfully obvious to anyone who follows the Pats, who ran out of surprises on Friday night at Mosaic Place.
True to form, the Pats were undaunted by adversity - in the form of an early 4-0 deficit - and managed to make matters moderately interesting before succumbing 5-2 on Friday night to the host Moose Jaw Warriors before 4,714 eyewitnesses at Mosaic Place.
It was much the same in Game 3 of the WHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal on Tuesday, when the Pats were down 5-0 in the first period before scoring the final three goals. A recurrence of the sickly start spelled game over - and season over - for the Pats in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.
For the second time in this series, the Pats trailed 2-0 before registering their first shot on goal. In the past week, this team has had more bad starts than a 1974 El Camino. A faulty ignition is never a good sign, but it is particularly harmful in the playoffs, and especially against a team of Moose Jaw's calibre.
Very soon, the Pats' 2011-12 season will be remembered for something other than its ignominous conclusion. Keep in mind that, entering this season, the Pats weren't supposed to be in position to make the playoffs - let alone bow out in lopsided fashion.
After three successive nonplayoff seasons, first-year head coach Pat Conacher coaxed a 37-27-6-2 record out of a squad that was not expected to snap its prolonged post-season drought. Conacher also instilled a work ethic in a team that, time after time, demonstrated its resilient nature.
The problem, though, was that the Pats had to be resilient - again - on Friday after facing another first-period barrage.
In the final analysis, the series belonged to the better team. The Pats were left to envision better days.
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