Friday, 7 April 2017

Pats pound Broncos 6-2 in Game 2 of second round series

Victory comes with uncertainty on the injury front

The Regina Pats celebrate Austin Wagner’s second period goal.
    REGINA – The Regina Pats potted the greasy goals to get back on even terms with the Swift Current Broncos.
    On Friday night in Game 2 of a best-of-seven WHL Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Pats trailed the Broncos 2-1 after the first period, surged for three goals in the second and cruised to a 6-2 victory. The win before a mostly ecstatic sellout crowd of 6,484 spectators at the Brandt Centre evened the series up at 1-1.
    The Broncos took Game 1 of the series with a 2-1 overtime victory in Regina on Thursday night. Game 3 is set for Monday at 7 p.m. at the Credit Union i-Plex in Swift Current.
    The Game 2 victory was potentially a costly one for the Pats, who finished first overall in the WHL’s regular season standings. Pats captain Adam Brooks left the game in the first period due to injury, and import left-winger Filip Ahl didn’t play in Friday’s contest after originally being listed as good to go in the lineups handed out to scouts and media.
Adam Brooks left Friday’s game due to injury.
    Pats head coach and general manager John Paddock didn’t have a status update on either player after the game.
    As for the game itself, Paddock was pleased his team battled through momentum swings to come out on top.
    “I thought more so than the regular season that was playoff hockey,” said Paddock. “There were ebbs and flows. There is momentum, and then somebody gets it back or somebody loses it.
    “I think that is just going to happen, because you are not out there by yourselves. The opposition has a say in it.
    “We got good performances from every guy. Guys stepped up and played good.”
    Brooks was actually lost on the Pats first goal. The Winnipeg product took a hit from behind, but managed to spring defenceman Dawson Davidson and left-winger Jonathan Smart into the offensive zone on a break. Smart potted his first goal of the playoffs to give the Pats a 1-0 edge just before the midway point of the first period.
    After getting up from being hit from behind, Brooks immediately skated off to the Pats dressing room.
    The Broncos replied with a pair of power-play goals to go into the first intermission holding a 2-1 lead. Defenceman Max Lajoie scored on a point blast, and star winger Tyler Steenbergen slipped home the go-ahead goal from the side of the Regina net to give the visitors the lead.
Left-winger Tyler Steenbergen gave the Broncos a short-lived lead
    The Pats came out flying in the second, when star offensive defenceman Connor Hobbs blasted home a point shot to even the score at 2-2 just 43 seconds into the frame. At the 6:08 mark of the second, the Pats went ahead 3-2 scoring another power-play goal, but this tally came on a net scramble that ended when right-winger Adam Henry banged home a loose puck in the crease of the Swift Current goal.
    Regina’s lead expanded to 4-2 before the second period ended, when right-winger Austin Wagner potted a tally after receiving the puck on a giveaway by a Broncos defenceman.
    Hobbs said his side never lost confidence despite being down on the scoreboard after the first period.
    “You just look around the room, and you see the determination in the boys’ eyes and it kind of sparks you,” said Hobbs. “I thought we built off a great power play to start the second.
    “Things just went well for us. It was exactly what we wanted to do tonight.”
Connor Hobbs paced the Pats with a goal and an assist.
    Rookie left-winger Robbie Holmes scored 90 seconds into the third period to put the Pats up 5-2. Wagner rounded out the game’s scoring potting his second of the contest into an empty net with 5:15 to play in the frame. The Calgary product took a high stick to the month from Lajoie on the play, but came away unscathed.
    Broncos head coach and general manager Manny Viveiros said the Pats were better team on Friday night.
    “We just weren’t there at the same level as we were (Thursday) night in the second and third period and overtime,” said Viveiros, whose Broncos were playing their ninth playoff game in 15 days. “We made a lot of mistakes today that were uncharacteristic of us during the playoffs so far.
    “We took way too many penalties against Regina. We turned a lot of pucks over also too and gave then a lot of momentum as far as scoring opportunities and goals.
    “Regina just flat out beat us tonight. We weren’t like our normal selves here.”
Star centre Sam Steel (#23) muscles out of the corner for the Pats.
  Jordan Papirny, who made 53 saves for the Broncos in their Game 1 overtime win on Thursday, turned away 34-of-39 shots to take the loss in goal for the Broncos on Friday night.
    Tyler Brown turned away 15 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Pats. Pats star centre Sam Steel picked up a pair of assists on Friday’s win.
    While the Pats are known for scoring in a finesse fashion, Wagner was pumped to get on even terms with the Broncos due to the fact his side piled up greasy tallies.
    “The goals, they weren’t the nicest, but they were in our favour,” said Wagner. “It was a good team win.”
    “He (Papirny) is a good goalie, but there were a lot of rebounds sitting in the slot there. We capitalized on our chances.
    “We know that we can score goals when we need to. Guys that don’t usually score goals scored goals tonight, and that is what you need in playoffs. It was good to see some of those guys scoring.”

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