Pats, the East favourites, acting like fat cats
The Regina Pats are britches are too big.
“We think we’re too good,” veteran centre Garrett Festerling told the Regina LeaderPost after the Medicine Hat Tigers manhandled their hosts 5-2 Wednesday. It was Regina’s second straight loss at home and third in four games. The slide started with a 2-1 loss to the Saskatoon Blades.
The Pats hope to exact revenge tonight when they square off with the Blades at Credit Union Centre, but they’re up against a team that is in stark contrast to Regina. The Blades are loosey-goosey,
Pats (2-3) vs. Blades (2-2) 7 p.m. tonight Credit Union Centre HOT 93 FM
their roster finally set and are every appearance everyone is fun.
Although Regina is supposed to be the team to beat in the WHL Eastern Division, goaltender David Reekie hasn’t put up the numbers and on offence only rookie Derek Hulak is putting the puck in the net with regularity. Hulak, 17, who played midget with the Saskatoon Contacts, has five goals in five games. giving having Reekie, a former Saskatoon Blazer, has won only once in four starts, with a 3.27 goals-against average and a unspectacular .862 save percentage.
“We’ve read too many press clippings,” said Pats head coach Curtis Hunt.
Last season the team worked hard and was rewarded with 40 wins. This year the players think “we’re the mighty Pats. It’s a mindset thing. We have to change that mindset.”
Therein lies the major difference between the Pats and the Blades.
Saskatoon (2-2) is taking nothing for granted, says head coach Lorne Molleken. Half the team are first-year Blades, and while mistakes are being made, he says the players are learning.
The club showed significant improvements on specialty teams Tuesday in a 5-3 loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Blades moved the puck crisply on the power play and showed considerably more poise than in the first three games, scoring power-play goals on their first two chances and finishing the night 2for-4 with the man advantage.
They pulled goaltender Blaine Neufeld in the final minute and with six attackers, scored their third marker.
On the penalty kill, the Blades gave up goals to Medicine Hat on its first two power plays, but shut down the Tigers on three other chances, including a twoman advantage for 1:27.
“I’m really proud . .
worked hard,” said Rob Trumbley, who coaches the Blades’ penalty-killing unit. “It isn’t a glamorous job . . . you’ve got to battle, get into (their) shooting lanes . . . and put your body on the line.”
BLADE BITS: The Blades are 5-for27 on the power play (18.5 per cent), while Regina is 8-for-45 (17.8 per cent). On the penalty kill, Regina is 32-for-40 (80 per cent), while the Blades are 27for-35 (77 per cent) . . . Blades netminder Braden Holtby, who could get the start tonight, has a 3.01 GAA and a .917 save percentage in three games . . . Saskatoon is at home Wednesday as the Kootenay Ice make their first of two visits.