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Sunday, February 26, 2017

PREVIEW: BRONCOS AT PATS SUNDAY

SWIFT CURRENT AT REGINA
4:00 pm, Regina Brandt Centre
620 CKRM

OVERVIEW
The Regina Pats (44-9-6-1) return to action Sunday afternoon for a second game in three days against the Swift Current Broncos (30-20-4-6). Puck drop is 4 p.m. at the Brandt Centre. The Pats hosted the Broncos on Friday and picked up a big 7-0 victory. The Broncos were in Moose Jaw last night and dropped a 5-2 decision to the Warriors. The Pats are 5-0-0-0 against the Broncos so far this season, tonight is the sixth of eight meetings on the year.

Lead Up: Steel Leads Rout of Swift Current Friday
Sam Steel scored four times and added an assist as the Pats beat the Swift Current Broncos 7-0 at the Brandt Centre on Friday night. After a scoreless first period, Steel scored three times in the second to make it a 3-0 game heading to the third. The Pats added four more in the final frame and improved to 44-9-6-1 on the season. Nick Henry chipped in with a goal and three assists while Adam Brooks and Dawson Leedahl each had two point nights. The Pats outshot Swift Current 51-15, Tyler Brown stopped all the Bronco shots for his fourth shutout and 27th win of the season. Regina was two for four on the powerplay and two for two on the penalty kill.

Head to Head
The Pats hold a 5-0-0-0 record against Swift Current heading into tonight’s fifth meeting of the season. Regina has won twice at home and three times on the road in the season series. The Pats have scored 29 goals to the Broncos nine in the first five games. Regina has outshot Swift Current 223-125, the powerplay has gone nine for 21 and the penalty kill 13 for 16. The Pats currently lead the WHL with 95 points through 60 games, the Broncos sit third in the East Division with 70 points, 12 points back of the second place Moose Jaw Warriors. Sam Steel, Dawson Leedahl and Nick Henry each have 12 points for the Pats against the Broncos this season. Adam Brooks has nine points and Connor Hobbs eight. Goaltender Tyler Brown is 3-0-0-0 with a 1.33 goals against average, a .942 save percentage and 1 shutout. The Broncos Lane Pederson has five assists in the four games while Glenn Gawdin, in three games against Regina, has two goals and two helpers.

Brooks 100
Pats captain Adam Brooks reached the 100 point plateau for a second consecutive season on Friday night. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect had two assists in the clubs’ win over Swift Current to reach 101 points in his 55th game. Brooks is the first Pats player to have back to back 100 point seasons since Mike Sillinger did it three years in a row from 1988 to 1991. In 305 games in his Pats career, Brooks has scored 109 goals and added 197 assists for 306 points. That puts him in a tie with Fran Huck for 15th in franchise scoring, one point back of Dave Michayluk for 14th and four back of Jordan Eberle who is 13th with 310 career points.

Upcoming Schedule
Pats Vs Lethbridge – Tuesday February 28, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)
Pats Vs Medicine Hat – Friday March 3, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)
Pats Vs Calgary – Saturday March 4, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)

(Courtesy Phil Andrews/ReginaPats.com)

SASKATCHEWAN 12 CALGARY 11

SaskRush.com
SASKATOON - Jeff Cornwall scored his second goal of the game in overtime as the Saskatchewan Rush edged the Calgary Roughnecks 12-11 on Saturday night in National Lacrosse League action.

Ben McIntosh and Robert Church each had hat tricks for the Rush (6-2). Mike Messenger, Adam Jones, Matthew Dinsdale and Mark Matthews supplied the rest of the offence.

Wesley Berg led Calgary (3-5) with four goals while Tyler Digby added a hat trick. Dane Dobbie struck twice with Jeff Shattler and Garrett McIntosh also chipping in.

Aaron Bold made 34 saves for the win in net as Christian Del Bianco stopped 35 shots in defeat.

Saskatchewan scored twice on three power plays and the Roughnecks were 3 for 5.

(CP)

SUNDAY SPORTS

Patrick Marleau scored the winner and Martin Jones made 35 saves as the San Jose Sharks downed the undermanned Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Daniel Sedin replied for Vancouver, which got 22 stops from Ryan Miller. The Canucks were without five players because of the mumps, or symptoms associated with the highly contagious virus.

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Montreal's dominance over the Maple Leafs continues. Andrew Shaw scored the winner in OT as the Canadiens edged Toronto 3-2 for the 14th consecutive time. Auston Matthews scored twice for the Leafs to reach 30 goals on the season. The win puts Montreal up four points on the Ottawa Senators for first place in the Atlantic Division.

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Sidney Crosby scored his NHL-leading 34th goal of the season as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 at blustery Heinz Field. Matt Murray made 35 saves as the Penguins capitalized on some shaky goaltending by Michal Neuvirth at the home of the NFL's Steelers.

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The final of the Canadian women's curling championship is set. It will be Ontario's Rachel Homan taking on Manitoba's Michelle Englot for the title Sunday night. Homan beat Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville in the semifinal. Englot is 2-0 against Homan at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts including a 9-8 win in their playoff game between the top two seeds.

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Canada's Milos Raonic has advanced to his first final of 2017. The Canadian tennis star beat Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6 in the semifinals of the Delray Beach Open to advance. He'll face American Jack Sock for the championship. Sock never lost his serve all day in a semifinal win over Donald Young.

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James Harden had 24 points and 10 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 142-130 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Houston won for the sixth time in seven games. Karl-Anthony Towns had 37 points and 22 rebounds for Minnesota while Canadian Andrew Wiggins added 30 points. It was Minnesota's first road loss in more than three weeks.

(CP)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

RODSERVATIONS

Keith Hershmiller Photography
THE BUZZ IN TOWN

1 - When my head hit the pillow Friday night, I didn't want to go to sleep. I was still on pins and needles from the atmosphere in the Brandt Centre last night where the Pats blew out the Swift Current Broncos 7-0. But it wasn't just about that game in itself.

I'll tell you why ..

2 - Sure, the game was great. All but one or two this year have been very entertaining, which is an amazing feat in itself. However Friday night fans looked at each other in astonishment as 18-year old Pats phenom Sam Steel whizzed around the ice, having his way with the Broncos. If you haven't heard already, the Anaheim first-rounder had a career-high four goals and an assist.

Sam Steel should be an absolute icon in this town - and by the time he's done he will be - but people seem to be slow to catch on. It's the same scenario as when Doug Flutie was with the Toronto Argonauts. He led the team to Grey Cup titles in 1996 and 1997 but Toronto sports fans didn't even realize it until afterwards when he went on to star in the NFL.  It was only then that Toronto people referred to him as, "Our Doug."

That's what could happen here with Sam Steel.

For instance, I was flabbergasted to wake up Saturday morning and see that not one comment had come into this blog about Friday's game and Steel's performance. I guess it was a shutout of the opponent, an offensive explosion, and therefore nothing to complain about.

3 - And back to Friday night's game. There was an electricity in the arena which has been slowly building over the past four or five months. The doors opened at 6:00 and the building was full almost immediately. Many people were in their seats by 6:10, which was a full hour before what would be the eventual opening faceoff.

What was the buzz in the building? Well this was the first home game since last Saturday's CHL announcement that Regina had won the right to host the 2018 Memorial Cup. So the murmur in the seats was about that, and how spine-tingling the next 15 months will be. There was talk of the Brier, this year's Scotties, and a little chatter about the Riders which we'll get to later.  But the main vibe was rightfully about the Regina Pats.

Just before game time, the concourses (which have always been wide enough) were completely clogged.  I had to walk out into the stands and dodge or step over people just to get to my seats.

It was a welcome inconvenience.

Kovacs
4 - I sat only a few rows up from the ice and had to pinch myself a few times to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  Let's see: the game was soldout, the Pats are the #1 team in the WHL and flirt with the #1 ranking in the country, the crowd was a mixture of old and young but more millenials than ever before, and the game itself was fantastic.

This is what we've always wanted. And now it's here.

And as an absolutely extra special bonus, Regina Pats legend Frank Kovacs came onto the ice before the game to help honour Pats forward Adam Brooks for playing his 300th career game. Brooks won't reach Frank's record 352 games played , but it's a tremendous accomplishment.

Bringing back alumni and having them be part of the pregame ceremonies? It's a tactic I've been pleading for this franchise to do for literally decades. This is lump-in-the-throat stuff for me and other fans who remember the good ol' days.

And now QCSEG is actually doing it. Former Pats captain Kyle Deck actually came out after Kovacs to drop the puck. The roof went off the place.

I honestly can't quite get over how utterly sensational this is.

And that's why I didn't want to go to sleep Friday night.

5 - Lastly on that particular point, although it was another sellout of 6,484, the rest of Regina and area has been a tad slow to catch on. It's similar, to me, to the 2013 Rider season when the football team was 8-1 and fans were bitching that receiver Geroy Simon wasn't been used properly enough. Really? Seriously? How insignificant does that detail look now since the club is 10-35 since the Banjo Bowl of 2014?

Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy it. I certainly am and it's like walking on air.

6 - The buzz in the Media/Scouts/VIP room before the game was of the CHL Top 10 rankings and how the Pats have been in them every week all season long while the Moose Jaw Warriors get nary a mention. Former SportsCage co-host Kelly Remple was particularly heated about this. "How can you beat the #1 team in the country three times and not even get an honourable mention?" steamed the Silver Fox.

The Ripplinger brothers - Todd and Jason - were in the room too and they mentioned that the rankings are a subjective thing, similar to college football. "They're designed to get people talking," one of them said. "There's no way to prove they're true."

Warriors GM Al Millar only chuckled about his team's snub and muttered, "I'd rather not be ranked all season long," referring to the fact that it's a great motivator.

It was a great discussion, and it's always nice to be back with the hockey boys.

7 - A very real concern if you're a local Pats fan: how are you going to get into these games come playoff time if they're all soldout? Obviously, you're going to want to purchase your playoff ticket packages well in advance because this is going to be an historic run and this city is going to go nuts.

Fortunately for you, it appears we'll have a lot of the playoff games televised on Access and Shaw.

But there's no substitute for being there in person.

By the way if this team doesn't go all the way, it'll be really hard to take but again, I'm just trying to savour every moment of what they're doing now.  It's great.

8 - The U of R Cougar womens basketball team is off to the Final Four after sweeping Trinity Western in their Best-of-3 conference quarterfinal this week.  On Friday night at the CKHS, Regina won 57-41. We were in attendance on Thursday night and it was a real treat.

When did the U of R add the electronic video screen? It looked big time.

Why do people say there's nothing to do in this town?

It never seems to be a problem for me.

9 - I saw two long-time lady Rider fans at the Pats game last night.  Their names are Leanne and Marlene.  I said, "Are you lost? There's no football game here?"

Marlene said, "We came because you told everybody to on the radio."

10 - While at Thursday's Cougar game and then last night at the Brandt Centre, I was peppered with questions about the Roughriders. The vast, vast majority of them centred around quarterback Vince Young.

In fact the exact line of questioning is, "Is he coming or not? Yes or No?"

It was too pointed of a question for me to give a simple Yes or No to, but CKRM analyst Luc Mullinder offered an emphatic NO on Friday's SportsCage.

Given the fact the Roughriders have refused comment on the entire Young matter, I'd have to lean towards the "No" side too.

So who will start in Week 1 ... Kevin Glenn? Brandon Bridge? Jake Waters? G.J. Kinne? Someone else entirely?

Sorry to say, but no one knows. It's February 25 so there's plenty of time for that scenario to play out.

11 - Another football note: Saskatchewan lost a legend on Thursday when Gord Currie passed away at the age of 93.  No one in Saskatchewan football is spoken of with the reverence that Gord Currie enjoyed during his time on earth. Frankly, it was an honour to know him and have the chance to discuss football with him.

12 - The inaugural Mark's CFL Week is coming in just a matter of weeks. Check out the full schedule of events here: www.markscflweek.ca.

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BIRTHDAYS: Happy Birthday on Friday to Rider alum Jordan Sisco, Wayne Shaw and Andre "Juicy" Monroe ... and Happy 52nd Birthday on Sunday to Rider legend Don Narcisse!

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THAT'S ALL! HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!
RP
@rodpedersen

Friday, February 24, 2017

PATS 7 BRONCOS 0

Keith Hershmiller Photography
REGINA - Another sellout crowd of 6,484 bought tickets to the Sam Steel Show on Friday night in the Brandt Centre.  The 18-year old centre from Sherwood Park, AB notched four goals and an assist as the Regina Pats smoked the Swift Current Broncos 7-0 for their third consecutive victory.

After a scoreless opening period, Steel found his groove in the middle frame netting a natural hattrick, the first of which was his 40th goal of the season.

After 40 minutes: Sam Steel 3 Swift Current 0

Regina continued the onslaught in the third as Steel fired home his 4th of the evening - a personal career best.  Joining the Anaheim Ducks first-rounder on the scoresheet were Jeff de Wit, Nick Henry and Connor Hobbs.

Pats goalie Tyler Brown stopped all 15 shots he faced to collect the shutout while Swift Current's Jordan Papirny was lifted after allowing five goals on 37 shots.  Taz Burman mopped up, making 12 of 14 saves.

Regina outshot the visitors 51-15 while going 2/4 on the powerplay and 2/2 killing penalties.

The Pats (44-9-6-1) will try to do it all over again on Sunday afternoon when they host the same Swift Current Broncos in a 4:00 pm faceoff on 620 CKRM.

RP
@rodpedersen

SCRUFFY'S THIS N' THAT

Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order:

-- Regina lost a true great this week. Gord Currie was a great football coach, a great educator and a tremendous man. The words of wisdom that he gave to many in this community will not be forgottten by those he spoke to. Many that played with him for the Rams know what type of individual he was as he shaped them to be the person they are today. His departure leaves a big hole in our community.

-- We are in the homestretch of the WHL season, and it is safe to say someone has some explaining to do in the scheduling department.

Wednesday night's Pats game in Saskatoon was the end of a 5 game roadie which saw them play 6 games in 9 days in 6 different cities. On the March 3 weekend, they will play three games in three days with that third one being an afternoon game in Brandon.  That's insane!  I realize the league tries to do things in mind with keeping education at the forefront, but what the Pats are going through right now is just stupid as far as I am concerned.  I am sure if I looked at other teams I could find anomalies in their schedule too.

-- Since when did NHL goalies become unable to play back-to-back nights?  Several times this year I have heard coaches say they didn't want their guy playing on back-to-back nights  because of the toll it would take on them.  I'm sure the legendary Glenn Hall laughs at that when he played over 800 consecutive games.  Goalies do need nights off, but I think its OK if you play them in back-to-back games.

-- I have said before I think its ridiculous when a guy gets laid out in open ice with a hard, clean check that he then has to drop the mitts and stand up for himself as someone comes in.  The idea was floated out this week on NHL Radio that if a player comes after someone for delivering what is a clean check, he should be given a 10 minute misconduct and a game misconduct. I could not agree more!

-- The Seattle Seahawks held a media combine this week for you know whats and giggles. I can truly hope the Saskatchewan Roughriders do not try to do the same thing. Then again, training camp is in Saskatoon and I won't be there so go ahead and do it up there.

-- The Arizona Coyotes told their fans to stop doing the wave.  1) God bless the Arizona Coyotes and 2) They have fans??

-- Baseball is back!!

-- FS1 is getting rid of Jay and Dan. ?????   How that network can release those two and keep Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe around is beyond explanation.  I can't see it being much longer till TSN snaps them back up. Would they go in where Dutchy and Hedger are or would they take over their old slot and bump Kate and Natasha.  Can they go head to head against Tim and Sid doing the same type of show and rid of us of those two?  For that matter, would they go to Sportsnet? No matter where they go, many Canadians will follow including this guy.

-- Thank you Chris Best!

-- It may only be one win, but Penny Barker has one at the Scotties. It has been a tough week for the Moose Jaw rink, but at least she can take one positive away from the week. Maybe she can finish things off with another "W" today to finish off round-robin.  As for Michelle Englot, she just continues to roll along. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her game as this week has shown. I'm not betting against her in the playoffs.

-- That's all I got. Have a great weekend!

RIDERS' CHRIS BEST ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT


The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced Thursday national offensive lineman Chris Best is retiring from the Canadian Football League.

Best is a veteran of 10 CFL seasons and played 114 career regular-season games after making his Rider debut July 8th, 2007. The Calgary native was originally selected by the Green and White in the first round, fourth overall, of the 2005 CFL Draft after spending four seasons at Duke University before transferring to the University of Waterloo to obtain his Masters in 2007.

Best also played in seven career playoff games and three Grey Cup games, winning in 2007 and 2013. He was named the Riders’ Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2011.

“I want to congratulate Chris Best on a successful 10-year CFL career,” stated Jeremy O’Day, Roughriders Assistant Vice-President of Football Operations. “I had the opportunity to work with Chris as a teammate and then as an administrator over the past decade. His level of intensity, competitive attitude, and will to win made Chris a great player. We wish him continued success in his next endeavour.”  

“I want to thank the Roughriders and entire province of Saskatchewan for everything they have done for me. It’s been an incredible privilege to play for the Roughriders for the past 10 years,” said Chris Best. “I want to give a special thanks to my coaches, teammates, and especially Rider fans for your continuous support over the years.”

The 33-year-old Best, his wife Emily, and their daughter Libby have made Regina their home.

24TH K.G.B.C. TO BE HELD MAY 26: CANADA VS CUBA

REGINA - Team Canada’s elite men’s boxing team will step into the boxing ring against Team Cuba for the first time in the history of the Ken Goff Memorial Boxing Classic (KGMBC) on Friday, May 26, 2017 at the Credit Union EventPlex in Regina, hosted by Regina Boxing Club. Team Cuba ranks first in four men’s weight divisions internationally and won six medals in men’s boxing at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. There will be eight bouts at the KGMBC with a rematch at the Brandt Cup on Sunday, May 28, 2017. The members of each team will be officially announced in Regina, SK after the 2017 Canadian Championship tournament in Quebec City, QC.

“Each year the Ken Goff Memorial Boxing Classic tries to attract the best athletes in the world to compete at the boxing card,” said George Goff, President, Regina Boxing Club. “The competition will be fierce and boxing fans will experience watching the most entertaining and elite boxing in the world.”

The KGMBC is an international competition and premier Las Vegas style fight night and is the only boxing competition in Canada where Team Canada’s elite team comes together to compete. Individual tickets will go on sale Wednesday, March 1, 2017 and can be purchased from reginaboxingclub.ca, ticketmaster.ca, and the Regina Boxing Club for $25. Tables with eight seats including dinner service are currently on sale and can be purchased by contacting 306.536.5707 or emailing info@reginaboxingclub.ca.

“Our athletes are very excited to box at the prestigious Ken Goff Memorial Boxing Classic that everyone around the world has heard about, and looking forward to competing against Canada," said Alberto Puig, President, Cuba Boxing Federation.

The KGMBC event was established in 1994 and is a major fundraiser for Regina Boxing Club, founded by Ken Goff in 1949. Ken’s founding vision, to help create our community create better citizens, still exists today, coaching youth as young as seven years old. With support from sponsors, community partners, and volunteers, the Regina Boxing Club continues to provide coaching and mentorship to children, youth, and families.