Raiders’ McBride stonewalls Pats
58 shots not enough to beat P.A.
Regina Pats assistant coach David Struch said his team played one of its best games of the 2014-15 WHL season on Tuesday — and yet it lost.
Nick McBride made 55 saves as the Prince Albert Raiders posted a 5-3 victory over the visiting Pats in a game that was rescheduled from Feb. 14. The contest was postponed that night because of poor weather and road conditions that prevented the Pats from reaching Prince Albert.
“We played unbelievable,” Struch said Tuesday. “We just ran up against a hot goalie.
“Our game didn’t change all night. It was consistent and we had consistent pressure. They got a couple of breaks, scored a couple of goals and that was the difference.”
The Raiders opened the scoring at 11:46 of the first period when Jordan Tkatch beat Daniel Wapple.
McBride kept it 1- 0 through 20 minutes, stopping all 18 shots he faced in the opening frame. Wapple made six saves in that stanza.
The Raiders built on the lead in the second period with goals from Mackenze Stewart (at 2:28), Tkatch (7:51) and Matteo Gennaro (14:18).
McBride made 15 more saves in the middle frame, while Wapple stopped eight shots.
Regina got on the board 1:57 into the third when Adam Brooks scored his team-leading 28th goal of the season. Braden Christoffer cut the deficit to two goals when he sniped at 6:36 of the third.
Wapple went to the bench in favour of an extra attacker with the Pats on a power play with just under five minutes left in the third. The ploy worked when Pavel Padakin scored at 15:44 to make it 4-3.
The Pats pulled Wapple again with time winding down, but the Raiders capitalized when Reid Gardiner found the empty net at 19:01.
Regina outshot Prince Albert 25-6 in the third period and 58-24 overall.
“It’s definitely frustrating (to lose a game in which the Pats carried the play), but I think our guys handled it really well,” said Struch, whose team fell to 35-22-5-4 with the loss.
“It makes things really good — as far as where we’re at, having clinched a playoff spot — to see the guys play that hard. We were down, but we stuck to the systems, stuck to the game plan and in the end pushed ourselves into a chance to tie it and even win it.”
One area of concern is the health of 17-year-old centre Sam Steel, who left the game late in the second period with a left leg injury.
Struch said Steel will be assessed again today, but the early prognosis suggests the injury isn’t a long-term issue.
“We have an opportunity here that we can rest him a little bit as well,” Struch said. “We don’t have to rush him to get back.”
The Pats are to visit the Swift Current Broncos tonight. Regina then has a home-and-home set with the Moose Jaw Warriors, with games Friday at Mosaic Place and Saturday at the Brandt Centre.
Moose Jaw lost 5-3 to the host Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday. The Warriors fell to 29-33-4-1 and remained two points back of Swift Current (30-31-1-4) in the race for third place in the East Division.
The fifth-place Raiders (28-35-2-1) pulled to within four points of Moose Jaw.