Regina, Saskatchewan - The Regina Pats (36-22-5-4) battled the Swift Current Broncos (30-32-1-4) for the final time in the regular season with the Pats scoring three in the third for a 4-1 victory.
Battling to hold onto their playoff spot, the Broncos had a glorious opportunity to jump out to the lead early. Braden Christoffer was shown the gate when he was assessed a five minute major from checking from behind. The Pats penalty kill came up large, taking care of the full five minutes followed by nearly two minutes of extra time when the Pats couldn't get a fifth player on the ice. The Pats opened the scoring a few minutes later when Jesse Gabrielle tipped Colby Williams' point shot past Landon Bow at the 17:22 mark of the period. The goal was later credited to Jake Leschyshyn for his second WHL goal. Swift Current avoided going to the break down a goal when Jay Merkley popped in a Dillon Heatherington rebound with 1:11 left to tie the game 1-1 though twenty minutes with the Broncos leading the shots 14-8.
The pace continued to pick up in the second period as the possible first round opponents went toe-to-toe. Both Tyler Brown and Landon Bow came up with some big stops as well as near misses from Rykr Cole on the Pats side and Cavin Leth on the Broncos'. The result of the quick moving, physical period was a scoreless draw, leaving the total at 1-1 after forty minutes with Swift Current leading the shots 21-19.
In keeping with their usual routine, the Pats' third period was their best. Just shy of the seven minute mark of the frame, Adam Brooks settled down a bouncing puck and slid it in front for Pavel Padakin who knocked in his 25th of the season to put the Pats on top 2-1. Just ten seconds later, Gabrielle raced into the zone, took a feed and blew a wrist shot by Bow and in off the post for his second of the night. After killing a Broncos powerplay, the Pats went to work with the man advantage and Padakin found Gabrielle on the far side for a one-timer at the 12:16 mark and set the Pats up for the 4-1 victory. The final shots on goal favoured Swift Current with a 30-27 edge. Tyler Brown turned away 29 shots for his sixth victory on the year.
The Pats return to action this weekend against the Warriors in Moose Jaw Friday night and in Regina Saturday. Tickets for the Fan Bus to Moose Jaw are still available at the Pats Office for $40.
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